by Kelly Madigan Erlandson

Before She Decides

They are in a dark plum thicket

and she is too far above the ground,

can feel the lift and fall of walking

but is not walking. Beneath her

are the shoulders of a boy

who is willing to carry her for years

but he is unsteady as a shirt

unbuttoned in the wind and she

is like a feather on the surface

of a river with round stones

in its bed. She already knows

he will fall and because she is above

him she will fall further

but that doesn’t matter yet, the night

held up all around her

like great bolts of cloth for her choosing.

-originally appeared in Gumball Poetry