Boomerang by Joshua Lavender

As a child, so many things come back to you:
the color of dusk, the dogs called home,

a boomerang to your hand. Like a bird to sky.
You sat beneath a tree, shadows of leaves

playing like fish, and whittled wands—
arrows taking their slender forms as the rasp

scribed the wood, let loose dust to the breeze.
An arrow stuck tall in tall grass; it was recovered.

Then you learned music, the intricacy of song:
chords returned, refrains. If you forgot a shape,

there was always another chance to get it right,
to strike the chord clearly. Generations of mice

procreated in the walls. One day, a spinning
saw blade clutched your hand. It was freed

from the cast stiff, as if turning to stone.
But with time its life came back, like plucking

the boomerang from the air. Another chance.
How many chances are there? The house

crumbled splinter by splinter, fleck by fleck.
Mirrors began to gape. Still you saw angelic

geometry in paper clips, said let me to your lover.
You wove a prayer for yourself like a myth:

Make me a pearl. Hanging up the phone,
you saw a moth trapped in a window.

Not knowing you’d never hear that voice again,
you sat at the organ—your scarred hand ran

the manuals. Leaves piled up in the firebreak.
This morning it happened again: you woke

from dreaming the loveliest song you ever sang,
its words disappearing as your eyes opened.

Now you walk around in a haunted silence.
Words fall away from you, like stones to ground.

How young you were, once. Sun and shadow
held you in a quiver, and if there was terror—

was there ever really terror? How far off
it looked. Spinning away. High, small.

Joshua Lavender grew up traipsing the fields and woods of south Georgia. He earned a BA in English literature at Georgia College in Milledgeville and an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland. His poems have appeared in Free State Review, One, Able Muse, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. At present, he lives in the north Georgia mountains, where he is working on his first novel, Quibble.

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