In winter, branches stretch into watersheds
against the sky.
I held your hand in the lace of the morning light.
Where are you now if not here? Don’t
tell me why—just come to me,
like a crow flies through a hole in the air
oil-slicked and glistening, with a ragged stone
in its beak.
I whistle into newly swollen streams,
stand where knees of boats have touched the shore
pray to be held by the wallop of water.
The dark is no place for hiding:
my heart creaks under the weight of it all.
Above me, the planets clutch light,
don’t let go, tether their orbits.
If I bend or fall, a crow will pick up
the pieces I was, tuck them away,
fly back into a braid of air.
About the Poet
Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor living in Milwaukee with her family. A Pushcart and Best of the Net Nominee, she is the author of two books, most recently Little Human Things (Clare Songbirds 2020). Interests include cooking/baking, traveling, and music. Find her work here.
For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.