Beyond her shadow, there is odyssey.
Beneath her feet, miles. She has booted smooth
stones into thirsty grass along a ribbon
of yesterdays that spin out like second hands.
That sweep away like rumor. Could resolve
keep pace with her strides as she sped
from the demands of a fabrication no longer plausible?
These were the years when she monitored her pulse,
hitched breath lavishing an explosion of spied
star shower as assuring as distant yard lights
on some dun, alluvial range; somehow still moored
to the world she was leaving behind.
All he was—offered as sacrifice. She understands
he pursues her yet, naked knuckles punching
empty air, flashing like newly minted nickels.
His proffered heart spent upon a sun whose promise
extinguished itself long ago. Desire cudgeled thin,
courage lost pacing porch boards silvered by seasons.
So she races on, muscling his negatives from her mind.
She pivots; grants him a final glance.
Tears stream her cheeks—a tribute to resurrection—
but he is so small now, and crunching gravel
drowns his howls of abandonment.
He would be an albatross slung stiff about her neck,
but there is relentless prophecy in her emerald eye
and she cannot be responsible for his inability
GINA BERNARD is a transgender woman who writes and lives in Bemidji, Minnesota, where she teaches English at the public high school. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Burningword Literary Journal, Cape Rock: Poetry, New Plains Review, and Leveler Poetry.