Kelly Moffett

Even his fingernail became so beautiful
I was scared. Over time he became a mood.

He carried fog and high grass and crickets.
When he opened his mouth, creek water

and tadpoles and minnow poured out. I
pushed his tongue aside to look for craw-

daddies. I sank a hook and searched for
narrative that neither of us had access to

any longer. All of it was an attraction to me.
But after his death, I only wanted what was

not death. So the headless pigeon on the
sidewalk came as a surprise. I was put

back into that unusual place where I was
afraid a lot by even the small things.

There was the bird that could not see me.
And then the father who could not see me.

Knowing this can become a comfort in its
predictability like the nightly swarm of birds

over the Ohio River above the barge and the
thin bridge that links one side of a childhood

to the other. I allowed myself to remember
him as someone kinder than he was. Because

what else can we do, how else can we forgive.

Kelly Moffett has three collections of poetry and one chapbook. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Rattle, Laurel Review, and MidAmerican Review. She is an Associate Professor at Northern Kentucky University, and she was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award to teach creative writing in Cluj-Napoca, Romania for the spring 2020 semester.

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