Whom I’ve never heard sing, not once, not even
as a joke, because he was shamed as a boy
when his voice broke in choir, raw tones scattering
the sanctuary like caught moths. Not even
when I was young, his voice a low path through nightmare,
reading so that I wouldn’t dream of dying & not when he survived
his heart’s closing in the dentist’s office, lifted high & away
in the helicopter like a terrible star.
Not even so early, dawn aching open, when he is first to wake
& straps on a headlamp to feed the horses in the morning cold,
the field’s chorus soon to catch & everything certain—not even,
not yet, as the trees glitter with spider eyes tucked in the bark,
sparrows still settled, which he’ll call to tell me about—
little things the Lord shows me, he says, in the dark.
Courtney Flerlage received her MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in Narrative,The Adroit Journal, Ninth Letter, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, Day One, Arkansas Review, and elsewhere.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.