I want to tell you how I found a clock
hidden by a quail egg
& slowly, shaking, lifted it toward light
to see the life inside it shift
like underwater smoke. But before I could
my father’s rifle shattered silence
& sent the swallows weaving through
a storm cloud.
Perhaps I’m only half
retelling the truth around the egg
& how the light was not light
but the brooding dark that gathered
over homes with chimneys
& erased, as it will, the trees, & if not the trees
the creek that gave us koi to catch
if one was willing to surface.
So few that if I swam its depths
I’d catch a single fin of copper flash
& follow where a culvert cut the field
& spilled into a graveyard.
I held my father’s hand there once
& gazed into a hole in the earth.
He was weeping while he cleaned a gun
& squinted so his sight
could travel the barrel with a quartered
rag & wipe away residue.
This before the sick that ate his blood
& turned him to a shadow.
Before his boy would lift an egg to look
for life & find inside a single spider
wrapped in human hair. When he
died I watched my sister curl into herself
& whisper his name again & again,
as if time could too be stopped by voice
& the rain reversed. Denial the root