Search Party
Michael Carlson

It is possible in this old process,

that the student in his notebook

finds the missing girl and sharpens her,

makes her hair like seven flames,

like a gift of old linen or spokes

of meat after an explosion,

but her body is never found.


Rain hits the flat of a spatula.

Cuffs of denim snag on stumps.

The maps we mull, ignored

by roads, declare specific stones

and mention fences. Further south,

in a tall dead grass by the river,

the student sketches gooey bees.


Not one man, but many men,

afraid of owls, of years, of stopping,

need her quiet bones to gleam, though sun

for us is pain. These stones in a row

form the base of a wall, but not

a signal mound or pedestal.

We need a place to start from.