Prairie Fire - - EMILY SKOV- NIELSEN -

A turkey vul­ture carves a hold­ing pat­tern over­head,

is called to land by a sweet-smelling car­cass

sur­ren­dered on the bank.

The chil­dren point to it with sprig-like fin­gers,

smudg­ing the glass. The dread in their eyes

falls not on the small, balled up

body of the dead, but on the bird

that has come to feed: a man

in a black feath­ered coat, slip­ping

through the seam­less sky—

pale colour of skin, di­aphanous

at the in­ner wrist.

I tug on the thread­bare fab­ric of their shirts

to pull them away, but some strange mother

quick and prophetic, is there be­fore me.

They turn away from the win­dow, from her voice,

to tell me once more of their fa­ther last win­ter,

when he leapt from the dock onto a sheet of pass­ing floe.

Ter­ror and De­light: twin sis­ters swap­ping clothes.

That day their fa­ther dis­robed into epiphany,

and they waved as he sailed down­stream

coat held high above his head.

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