Free Range

After the second time they took you
from me, Lydia, I went into the attic and drove nails
upward through the roof

to keep the vultures from roosting. But when you returned
to me as the sheen of light on an egg yolk, you asked
that I forgive what they’d done, so I went back

into the attic and pulled the nails out again.
After the apple was picked, you said, the crooked branch
it had grown from—with bark

the color of charcoal—was cut down, and a scavenger
made from it, to reclaim all matter to God.
I watch as the vultures

eat you. You told me, Lydia, that these days
you don’t mind what you’re made of, so long as
you always come back.

Now the dusk wind has set the new snow
fleeing and I can’t help thinking of you, Lydia,
when I catch my foot on the pasture fence

and go sprawling. Each ice crystal casting
my nose and cheeks in painful relief. I sit up, wait
to see if you’ll recollect yourself as a drop

gathering on the ridge of my collarbone.
I have not tired, waiting for you. I do not scare the vultures
in their hoods of snow as they sleep

atop our roof. I stand, lean against
the corner post of our pasture fence and cough you up, reborn
into my palm. Gray and curled inward

thawing in my hand
like a grocery store shrimp. When it’s bright out
we lay together in the attic and stargaze.