Long Hunter State Park, Late Winter

by Gary McDowell

No matter how fast I reach
            I can’t catch the orange-throated
                        lizard climbing the shagbark.
                        He disappeared you! The logic
            of my five year old makes
me wish this kind of magic were real:
the lizard, brandishing a tiny
            wand, ka-pooshes me to where
                        teleportation means she’ll
                        never age, means every day
            when I say, you’re up early
today, and she says, my dream
ended and I had nothing else
            to dream, we’re larger, another
                        example of two bodies in
                        orbit. Farther down the path
            an oak’s branches like fingers
lift a fir tree’s skirt. A mosquito
but larger. A wristwatch fallen
            into the leaf mold. The shade sheds
                        into light. Even this canopy,
                        holy, has an end.

Gary McDowell is the author, most recently, of Caesura: Essays (Otis Books, 2017) and Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None (Burnside Review Books, 2016). His work has appeared recently in American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and The Nation. He lives in Nashville, TN, and is an associate professor of English at Belmont University.