Mary Quade

TALE OF THE LOST GIRL

I don’t notice things until I’m lost—
the missing path, a puzzle of details that will
come together with cleverness. I have a map, but
I don’t find myself there—nor this very spot, this log
rotting to softness, and on it, lit by morning,
a large egg, chipped open,
no chick, but evidence of yolk, slick around it—
a clue. Bird, lost. Egg, found—by me
suddenly, a direction, an unraveling.
Then the voice saying, You know to stay still,
they will miss you, they will find—what?
What would they discover that I have neglected?
So I move to find more—
coyote scat scratched into dirt—I recognize that;
the rush of vertigo on a bluff,
a tick looking for flesh—
familiar, familiar.
Are you looking?
Have you described me to the searchers?
Mind you—you’re falling quickly behind.

TALE OF THE GOOSE

This is the matter—the moment moving in your mind,
drifting like a goose—it looks so pretty, you think to yourself,
Of course, of course—a nodding dismissal. You’ve forgotten
the bruise of its bill, its angry intent—
you see pure white, imagine the down—you even
say feathers under your breath, the pleasure of saying
what you want to feel. The goose—hasn’t it an egg?
Isn’t that worth? It drifts—you cannot see
its feet, but that doesn’t bother you because
you are already taking off your shoes, reaching over the water—
notice its muttering—reaching
for its hunger, empty handed.

STINGING THINGS

after shootings in a Cleveland public high school

You were pruning the crabapple—
its branches choked with suckers
and callous sour fruit—
when something stung you on the ear,
as if to say to its pliant softness,
Now hear this,
the burn growing like hot gossip.

Then you saw the nest hanging above,
a child’s head, wrapped in bandages,
disembodied, and the warnings
brimming from the mouth,
a tantrum of glassy wings.
Inside, chambers and chambers of flightless
angers—substance, but not yet shape.

______________________________

Mary Quade is the author of the collection 
Guide to Native Beasts (Cleveland State University Poetry Center). Her poems have received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and two Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards. She teaches creative writing at Hiram College in Ohio. You can find her here: maryquade.com