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If I Could Turn Back Time

Avery James

I’d press kestrels & wrens

into their shattered eggs,

knit each shard to one smooth form, & return them

to yolk & stillness. I’d will the potted sprouts

on your windowsill to make home

of their seeds again. Your garden

of sungolds & romas would slim

to sharp beads of green on silver-furred leaves,

the stakes, coiled with their heft, moaning relief.


& I’d teach everything that falls to rise.

& everything made will unravel itself. Somewhere,

the fox wanes her jaw & out

staggers a hare, intact. Somewhere,

the sky turns to hunger. Lightning

becomes a tongue drunk up by the clouds.

The horizon goes full on the sun

falling east & lifts the moon

in exchange.


You would still be on your rusted balcony,

hair cornrowed & scratched tight

to your skull, Goodwill sweats

scattering the hourglass slope of you.

Below, cars reverse the freeway & 4 AM inhales

a fog stained with daylight.

You would ask, again, for my forgiveness

& you would have it.

I would not call you by a dead name.

I would have stayed as long

as you wanted.


I see you condensing from broken angle on wet cement

to boy. You, rising, limbs backstroking the air. Wind

parachuting you & your strange tunic

up, unmourned, to the lip

of the roof.

Spring, 2019 Issue