Justin Kaneps

Calling: Marfa

A poem for Sunday

For E.

There was the day: the forsythia
at your fence a conflagration
of yellow, the sun, a more obvious
conflagration of yellow, and spring

just finding us, there in the full bore
of the day, the flowers, the sun, my belly
full, and you, dear friend, temperate
as the breeze. I want to call you, to sound

the distance like my grandfather, who,
as a child, stood on his front porch, hollered
through the woods to his friend a mile, he says,
away, who would call back, echoing in the pine.

He’s an exaggeration, my grandpa,
but you and I, we put in the hours on my sadness,
fall leaching into winter,
            the winter, the winter,

twin poles of my desire, to be or not, opening
into a field where I walked all the snares,
found them full and wriggling, some bone
broken by the rope, some bit bleeding

from the knife. I’d call, standing out by the shed,
kicking the ground gone hard with cold, the dogs
rooting about, that skunk gone in for the season—
and you, rarely one for calls, answered

as if we were the same kind of bird. Who set the snare
and with what bait, we never knew, but you helped
loose what was trapped, bandage and bind
what was cut or broken. This year—

the winter the winter the winter
trails its gray blanket into the fringe of May,
I think of you, in the spring soon come.
Friend, should you give a holler from your porch,

know that I’ll call back, voice travailing the pine,
no matter how deep the wood.