Photography by Cole Thomas. Poetry by Emily Hill.
By Emily Hill
The joy of a narrow and railless bridge
crossed Christlike—our arms outstretched
over the tea-dark creek. You stumbled behind me,
your seeking hand barely finding the cloth
of my shirtsleeve, and I felt the bridge quake.
Waxwings keened in the trees.
The sound of them wrinkled the air;
perhaps they weren’t used to my black dog
bounding up and baying as they perched
as if to say: I see you; you thrill me.
His jet back flashed between palmettos
as he sprinted through sun and shadow, leaped,
and plunged recklessly into the creek.
Behind you, I saw high color peeking
through the leaves, a blush among green boughs.
A buzzard weighed down the blooming branch
of a dogwood tree, black feathers against
flat pink blossoms. I crushed bits of fennel,
cardamom, and granulated sugar
between my molars. Their fragrance filled my mouth,
and I thought of the bird’s gizzard—all the grit within
that helped break down the bony roughage of carrion-eating.
I wanted to touch your arm,
point out the bird,
but I was too caught up wondering
what the little shadows under your eyes
would look like in ten years, in twenty.
Plus, you kept fiddling with your hat,
and as I watched you,
the buzzard flew off.