Back to Issue Thirteen.

CALL AND RESPONSE

BY PATTY PAINE

 

All through our last year we find remnants, 
the shell of a turtle long after what lived

turned dust, the skull of a fox, clean
as the first scent of fall, a nest untangling

in the wind, the same wind that rouses
the chimes, sweeps dead leaves

into the river, and farther
down river a man hauls a net

into his boat, the way you hauled secrets
into yourself, each day growing 

heavier and heavier. This morning,
I sat on the patio crying for you, 

and I heard my neighbor teaching
his toddler to count. He called out each

number, and she chimed back her bird-
like approximations. And though I’ve never

met them, I loved them, and for today,
this was enough.      

 

 

Paine 13

Patty Paine is author of Grief & Other Animals (Accents Publishing), The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), Feral (Imaginary Friend Press), and Elegy & Collapse (Finishing Line Press). She is also co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Garnet Publishing & Ithaca Press) and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales From the Gulf (Berkshire Academic Press). Her work has appeared in BlackbirdVerse DailyGulf StreamThe Journal and other publications. She’s founding editor of diode poetry journal and Diode Editions. She’s an Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, where she teaches writing and is Interim Director of Liberal Arts & Sciences.