A Poem

Ruth Loveland, Inferno, 36x36 inches, mixed media on wood, 2017

is the last thing I want
you to become as in
late in life your lover
looks at a picture
of the day you met

a sudden warmth
rises or dirt tending
the body of a rabbit
subsequent flowers
years after you’ve settled

for the myth of me in leaves
then and only then in lines
moving with the verve
of maggots like the bunny
we buried for you today

look at our overgrown pride
our indelicate effort
to prepare you the shovel
in your mother’s hand
under your father’s foot

wisely you ran
slid into the branches
of the magnolia tree
its red seeds
humming the air

Portrait by Braden Denton

Bailey Hoffner volunteers with Poetic Justice, an organization that offers restorative writing workshops for incarcerated women, and writes book reviews for World Literature Today. She is currently working to complete her first full collection of poems, If the Honey Is Sunk.