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by connie wasem scott

you won’t know what to do, how to carry the bag

in your chest, the one filled with sand as if you need traction to get

out of the jam you’re in. Step one is to scour the sky

for a cloud that even remotely resembles

your brother’s hand, even if it’s like a hand

rolled up by death. Breathe deeply while you search,

and soon, your heart may quiet, not quiet the way

he lay lifeless when you last left him, like pond-water

quiet, crack-of-dawn quiet. Alive, just not making

a ruckus about it. At this point, with your best

I once sang in the church choir voice, break

a loud focoso free from your chest and 

curse those damned gods in the heavens for paring him down

like a shriveled potato in the first place, d.c. al coda

the hell out of that song, repeating as often as you need,

to hell with the damnation you once feared might rain down

from above. You’re not in a Sophocles play, so

belt it out like a lightning bolt. Take another deep breath,

then tether your gaze on the nearest tree (get creative if no trees

are around you – a fire escape or a smokestack will do), really

latch on with your gaze, the way a stubborn homeowner,

refusing to evacuate a hurricane, clings for dear life

to a lamp post. Stay there like his body will stay

when he’s scattered next to that fallen tree in the Rockies.

Let those clutched hands of your eyes trace the lines

of that tree from the base where it sits, to the tiniest

twig at the top.  Rest there for a minute, think how

your perspective looking up is a world different

from the view looking down. That’s

how it’s going to be from now on.

Connie Wasem Scott lives in Spokane, WA, where she teaches a range of English classes at Spokane Falls Community College and enjoys the great outdoors with her Aussie-American husband. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in CITRON, Shore Poetry, Streetlight, Minerva Rising, Cathexis Northwest, and elsewhere.

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