by Lily Starr
Risk in our lifetime is slipping
something small into the full
pocket of a leather purse.
I have lost so much this way,
a knife so thin it could fit
in a fold of your knuckle.
I lost you somewhere in America,
between the river
and everything after it.
We always feared landlock.
Only the current loved us this way—
enough to hold our bodies until
we stopped our shaking.
I dreamt of you once. The field
behind my house, my father’s deer
feeder replaced by your hands,
full of sweet corn and invitation
for a velvet mouth. But nothing came.
The hunting camera caught your body,
flash turning your face a shock of white.
I think of you now, in Alabama,
where the light doesn’t dare
touch the stars. I bet you’re so tan
your toenails look like mother of pearl.
I bet everyone loves you like a country.