Blackbirds were there and not there,
flickering as darkly as the forest,
in and out of the wind,
quick needles sewing the day to our blood.
She said, “They are seeds on the first breath of creation.”
She said, “Maybe there is a world where chaos
is distinguishable from order, but I won’t go there.”
She said, “My bones are hollow, too,
and when I tumble onto the grass
with my arms wide, the sky falls into me.”
Her face was shining.
It breaks my heart when I remember
that this was the day before the storm.
I told you: look, it is snowing
It was beginning
just then, outside
in the winter sunlight,
first flakes erratic and
quick, from a cloud-
You were three years old.
I loved you, and
the same snow was already falling
in some other year
when I was lonely.
Two books of James Owens’s poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland, The Stinging Fly, The Cresset, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has an MFA from the University of Alabama and lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.