Veronica Patterson


At the window facing west, I gauge the storm’s debris—

last leaves, twisted locust pods spilling seeds, bare branches, 

long strips of bark peeled from the old maple. Squirrels 

frenzied in the disordered too-much. One pauses, 

erect, on one end of a curved strip of bark. Another, leaping 

from the maple’s trunk, lands on the other end, lifting 

the first, which comes down, whipping the other up, 

and for an oddly elastic moment they jump alternately, 

see-sawing. I laugh. True story, I could add, as we 

sometimes say, as if none of the others we told 

were. Truth being no more than—no, released from— 

this rib of bark in the littered back yard. For a moment

I see my younger brother in his torn blue jacket, straddling 

a board on one side of a fulcrum, rising on a playground 

a thousand miles away, as the years come down.



Forthcoming in Tar River Review






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