For this spring
by Justin Bell
There is a way a cardinal looks at itself in the reflector and decides
it must destroy itself --- before the casting of the first stone, before
the weight of a beak scoops out the contents of a skull, I learned
to hate the sharper sides of my hands
weakened them in pill bottles
until I switched to a smoother substance, this spring’s soil. What
leads me back to retrieval --- endless emptying out, then filling up
--- again and again? I turn forward the veins of the ground and question
where so much taking has gotten me. A bird hatching twice, far too
late in the season; a moon flower closing as the sun touches its skin;
these are my dreams.
How dreams always become a deep black orange.
Dreams turn to ink bubbling over the sun. Hiding amongst the loam I
spotted stars, but the stars that become blacker things to suck everything
in. And somehow I couldn’t lock eyes with them. What if shame isn’t the
revealing of the root towards the air, but the sinking deeper to the same
water that brought it there? When all the hostas are
set apart ---their fingers
gripping the marl like a naked throat---they will settle because my hands
returned them. They will forgive me like nothing ever has.
About the Author
Justin Bell began writing through the Creative Writing program at Knox College, but he currently studies as a master’s student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has previously been published in the student publications Catch Magazine, Cellar Door, and most recently in Signatures Art and Literary Magazine.