by Sara Fetherfolf

I’ll sing you countdown:
        juke, fluorescent drone, hinge
of a gate rasping open.

I’ll sing you Lake Michigan’s
        pop & flush, melting; Good
Morning America jingle

& the shantung scratch
        of my mother’s penciled
To Do list. Sing a flooded street

one spring & its brass
        refraction, as a catfish,
big as a grown man’s foot,

swims by. Mirror, prism, molecule
        of water bending & blotting,
betrothal of soot & ozone,

4 heartbeats
        between lightning & thunder
for each mile distance:

sing you this; sing you mirror
        rattling like teeth
against its hanging

when the thunder hits, mirror
        inherited from my mother
who inherited it

from the beech tree
        cut down to make its frame.
I’ll sing you the backside:

beech-woman, combing
        her fresh-washed hair
in the mirror inherited

from all the before;
        sing you the 2 weeks
I spent transformed

into a catfish at age 19,
        inhaling through my knife-slice
gills; sing that form in which I held

a forgiveness that could sever
        like lightning,
the sound of my time

unmothered & numbered, pealing from
        me, 19,
thumbing down a gravel

dead end off Rt. 78; 19, Pennsylvania,
        storm-touched land
unplanted & breathless

in the afterfloods.
        Sing mud & beg
& juke & echo—gunshot

resounding off another
        mountain, storm-touched,
4 heartbeats, footfall

as the woman in the beech mirror walks
        up the underworld stairway
once more into

this my flashpaper place
        hot for the going.
Sing of it: flood, shape-shift,

too much rain
        or not enough; sing of
her, of me, broke free,

back home, kneeling
        in the light & mud to write
a To Do list:

      1. brood on keepsakes drowned or gone missing
      2. moon & moon & what could grow here


This poem originally appeared in  Via Combusta (New American Press, 2022), Sara’s new poetry collection.