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Until he leapt four stories toward death
my father didn’t believe in God, he said,
but himself, yet the tech in the medevac

swore, as the helicopter lifted, he asked
whether Jesus loved him. Did Jesus
love him? Did I? I can’t remember

a time. Though I can picture, with ease,
the morning I ran to a neighboring farm
in a downpour, slipped beneath

the protective tarp shielding a pyramid
of hay; I can remember the scent of that
dampness, sweet mixture of clover

and seed, and the weighted sound falling
fast and hard as I prayed
I wouldn’t be found, hoping

if I made myself still enough, or small,
even after the sky cleared, I wouldn’t hear
him, the next field over, calling me home.



Shara Lessley is the author of The Explosive Expert’s Wife (Wisconsin) and Two-Headed Nightingale (New Issues) and coeditor of The Poem’s Country (Pleiades). An NEA fellowship recipient, she has appeared in the Best American Poetry and Pushcart anthologies.




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