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A History of Shoulder & Root

Carolyn Guinzio

Where will you go when you leave us at last,
and where, when we leave, do you want to be left?
The cries rise up from the grotto garages, taking hold
of walkers’ ankles through the sidewalk grates.

Those lost seconds, those birds:
Orbiting kites that would rather not land.
Neverlanding kites believe alive is to be on the wing.
It is not for not wanting. Twilight, a walnut falls

soundlessly. In the harbor, boats crowd each other,
a tinny clanking blanket laid at the base of a city’s
sounds. The family has gathered in an upstairs room.
Stunned pigeons wince in their sleep on the sills.

Grinding red feet into concrete against knot-loosening
gusts, they dream of alighting not on spikes, but a place not
barbed against them. Two tethers hang from the migrant
now: one for the leaving, and one for the soon-to-be left.

Carolyn Guinzio

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