Migration, Larry Woiwode

Chase. 2012. Sandstone. 50 cm H x 90 cm W x 30 cm D. Albany, Duncan Moon




Were the distances incised in you
from the first, when you let your body lie
at rest the length of my forearm, your head
gripped in my hand? O little girl, barely seventy
ounces at birth, seemingly ill prepared for flight,
only a single hand restraining you at the sea’s edge,
now you circle the earth in search of absolution
in a Manarola pool or bath at Bath, immersion
at any site except your city room — a window
for your exit to the West glowing and wide
open for your flight from the numb mean
you fear governs me: no transparency;

so, formed for flight from birth, head
off on a once-known course, the Far East,
employing the migratory flyway; you’re far too
developed to restrain — these old bones giving in
in me like cargo in a ferry gone awash while with
a lightening of your own you lift away the birdlike
weight I supported along the length of one arm,
the way my dead father (as I suppose) once
held me, he who was a mother to me, too;
and I see how it was that he gave up on
me entirely at fifty, fearing I’d never
find, unlike you, a winter home.

Larry Woiwode

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