Poem by Richard Jordan
May 15, 2023
A child balances atop a split-rail cedar fence, blue jay feather in each hand. She stretches arms wide like a tightrope walker. Her father stands nearby, grilling chicken breasts. Pink juices drip onto crackling twigs and charcoal; smoke matches the color of storm clouds rolling fast across the sky. He flips the chicken over, presses with a spatula. Flames shoot up, sizzle fat and skin. The child squints to see beyond the smoke, the clouds. She’s been told her mother’s always watching She closes her eyes and hears a whisper, feels a gust of wind, flaps her arms and rises. This is the moment she could fly away. Instead, she floats down softly to a post. Light raindrops have wet her face: her mother’s tears, or God’s? Her father turns to her and smiles. It’s time to go inside. It’s time to eat, then sleep. Yes, those are pretty feathers. He tucks them into her braids.
About Richard Jordan
Richard Jordan, a mathematician by training, has had poems featured in Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, The Atlanta Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Rust & Moth, Little Patuxent Review, and elsewhere.