Alison Stine

          Jake Adam York, 1972-2012

He only told me, No one will ever

forget you — and I had answered him

with silence, distracted by seasons,

the birds in the bleached fields, picking

at ash. There is a possibility that extends

between people, a kind of thin rope,

a chance that, tossing it up, the end

will reach the other person — or will snag

on a tree, or passing spaceship, or star;

will tether a balloon in the night (in those

clouds, there could be anything), keep it

from blasting, keep it from getting lost.

Find the spark in the darkness, the gas burner

roaring, the canvas swelling with breath …

He told me, No one will ever forget you, the man

who was young, the man who was lost, the man

I did not and can never answer. Where’s

Kansas, the straw man said to the girl,

as if they could go there together,

a place he would be indispensable,

a place he could scare away birds.


about the author