June Myth

Mother unhands him
to Father who unhands him
to nanny who unhands him

to the wheezy song
of a redwing, to the warm wind’s
swishing willows, to the wild rose

at the yard’s edge …

all of which reach him
in the blue crib
and pick him up

and itch his nose
and pinch his ears
and take his gaze

till he’s floating at the rim
of his blue world and his
eyes trace the sky’s blue

and a few dark wings, streaked red,
take his attention
into the willows, and disappear…

out of which still smaller
wings appear and a blue
bottle fly alights

and tickles his toes,
lifts and alights
and tickles his brow…

and hums to him and tells him
the farewell story
of the world.

Neil Shepard has published three books of poetry: Scavenging the Country for a Heartbeat (First Book Award, Mid-List Press, 1993); I’m Here Because I Lost My Way (Mid-List, 1998); and This Far from the Source (Mid-List, 2006). His poems appear in literary magazines such as Boulevard, Harvard Review, New England Review, North American Review, Ploughshares, Paris Review, Shenandoah, Southern Review, and Triquarterly, as well as online at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. He founded the Writers Program at the Vermont Studio Center and directed it for eight years. He now teaches in the low-residency MFA Writing Program at Wilkes University (PA), and he is the long-time editor of Green Mountains Review.