Stage 4, Pamela O’Shaughnessy

The Delivery
The Delivery, Z.Z. Wei



Stage 4

for Bruce

 In my genetic line we are
stricken like bells or flint
or an unseen sword comes to top our branches
the feeling is of conflagration; the hot heart
stops still in horror; in vain firemen scale the walls

while your family dies cold, from a squeeze-vine
a congealing, a clotting and withholding, a coagulation
spring mud turned hard under horse’s hooves

and I suppose there are families that die by air
much more is known of deaths by water.

Going through the process with you,
like your bedside table a fixture at your side,
I watch the sun come out
after last night’s thunder
onto high ledges
where big birds bask.
You look out, tan and dusty
where earth meets sky
as each operation brings desiccating dawns

and I am yours
your solidity
for your ever
for each day’s flight

among the red rocks, the arroyos
of condor-country. what a wing-spread
you display, unfurling

at the cliff-edge, beginning your flight
across the canyon.


Pamela O’Shaughnessy




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