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July 2019 Vol. 15 No. 2

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Keith Polette


Leaving the grocery store, I notice a brown grackle perched on the handle of a shopping cart in the parking lot. Its angular head, like a bishop on a chess board, was tilted, pointing to a movement in the sky.

A helicopter slowly whirled out of the hanging clouds, its blades thumping the air like someone beating the dust out of a rug. The grackle and I were both silent as we watched it bank away and descend low over a cluster of houses, its nose down like a dog sniffing for the trail of something it had picked up and lost. Then, it disappeared from view.

The grackle followed, lifting off, leaving the empty nest of the cart, its shape changing into a pair of hands rising into the air, while I, heavy with bags, trudged to the car, feeling more earthbound than ever, careful though, to keep an eye on the sky, while making sure I left behind nothing to track.

darkening sky
my shadow takes me
by the hand