Line of Sight

Molly Damm

            After Henri Cartier-Bresson

In my sky-stricken mind, I point
a meadow towards you.
It’s the way it is neither sudden
nor curtaining the future
that I love.
Spindrift sifts the length,
sap not yet frozen
in its line. Who knows what luminous
things we conceal
from each other.

I believe in one whose palms
lift the cloud
up over the mountain. If you can’t feel life
in that, our father
will say. He is
calling to young women in the streets
as the protests die around him.
Our father becoming dizzy
as he begins to carry the snow.

And my sister closes her eyes
but just for a moment.
Because it is April now,
her pink coat is mostly unbuttoned
her thin legs new and bare as a colts’.
She is pretending
to be blind, one being
with the air in the alley.

Our father is a giver of birdseed
and refuge. Alone in his room,
his three favorites perch atop
a domed cage. Their white bodies
almost pierce
the shadows, but instead turn dove grey
and fade. He holds one in his fist
to imprint its tiny musculature there
before going to paint. Our father is devoted
to nothing besides these birds,
and unkempt night.

Our mother died this morning,
but for years she lay topless, prone
as a fallen sculpture each morning
after another man left.
We covered her
and propped her in the sun
while the neighbors hummed
their low songs, wet laundry glittering
in their hands,
turning a half-blind eye.

The best lovers are out
pacing the hallways. Not a string of desires,
an opening in sight. Tell me into the broad
of my back where my yellow dress breaks
and beads off into skin. Tell me I will walk
again. Say this is what it sounds like,
little girl with fallen letters and wanting out,
to survive.