She won’t talk and Dad said leave her alone
and go on down the road and find her coat.
The trees have no leaves since the killing frost.
A yellow waxwing
calls in the cedar. The tips
of his wings are scarlet. He calls,
buzzing and tinny,
and fading as I pass.
Once I think I see the coat,
but it’s an owl feeding, its wings spread wide.
I walk until the road begins to fade
and my hands in front of me
are shadow. I walk even when the moon
lights up and climbs the sky.
I don’t see Elizabeth’s coat,
but I’ve worked out where it is—
inside Brown’s old, leaning barn,
under the ladder that leads to the loft.
I find the coat in the dark and hold it
while the moon circles overhead
and plunges through the holes in the roof.
The old barn murmurs and I wonder
until the whole thing falls.
~ Lori Baker Martin
Lori Baker Martin lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is currently teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had work published in Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, and The Little Balkans Review, and has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She’s a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.