Litany

by Rachael Lyon


I was hot. So I swam naked in Mill Creek, swam
until my eyes froze over looking. I was thirsty, drank water
spilling from your roof. It was empty-warm

and tasted like nails. I was tired. So I slept
in the boarded shadow of a woodshed where
Merrill kissed my mother in secret.

She thought this place was haunted before
his mouth snuffed voices into nothing, wet fingers
on a burning wick. At night I danced where

Merrill died, where the flag that draped his oak
coffin billowed, threatened to escape. My almost-father. In winter,
snow piles high enough to hide in, melts and makes

a four-inch layer of ice. I was cold. So I laid
my body in the frozen grass, drank in air
so thick that it was water. I was sad.

So I laid your musket out beside me. In the spring
when you call for me, if by then I do not answer,
look to where the water runs again. I am there.


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