You fell in the fall.
A few feet,
In those seconds of slipping
black paint arcing above you like a crow’s wing
a brush spinning away from your hand
pooling on the pavement of your driveway
and then drying,
this is when you start dying.
When spring comes,
too soon this year,
it will go to your garden out back,
to land light
on those boulders we hauled
from dead Drunkard Joe’s yard
before his house sold.
In the spring, the catnip will sprout.
Your cats remain
You fell in the fall
but spring will be the season when
suddenly nobody will see you
tending to future tomatoes
changing out the seed and suet
watering soil for berries you would turn into jam.
We don’t know where
a slip will take us—
don’t ever imagine that a streak of black paint
on our hand
will weigh indelibly on the minds
of those we leave behind.
We don’t know when
the endangered birds we counted
will turn to zeros,
or if the wildflowers will ever come back
and prove the rain pretty.
Christine Fadden’s work appears in Hobart, Louisiana Literature, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Gulf Coast, The Louisville Review, PANK, Joyland, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2014 Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival Prize and the 2013 Blanchan Award through the Wyoming Arts Council. She lives in the Olympic Rain Shadow, beneath some trees.
Read an interview with Christine here.