Sandra Fees resides in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was named Berks County Poet
Laureate in 2016. In 2017, she had chapbooks published by Five Oaks Press and
Finishing Line Press. Her recent work appears in the anthology, Undocumented:
Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice


The fresh tracks I follow
are human-made,

my friend gone early
parting the white waves

at sunrise, breaching
snow crust to leave behind

the unmistakable outsole
of her. I nearly resent

the intrusion, nearly regret
my extra hour of sleep

while she went ahead
making her way without

me into middle age.
I could have turned this

way or that but suddenly
the only way was to follow,

my boot print mirroring
hers. Whatever she had

seen, whatever snow she
had crushed beneath her

feet seemed now to call
me on. When the ice crystals

melted and slipped from
branches like transparent

arrows and the vulture circled
leaving no visible sky-marks

she seemed to be whispering
to me to take what remains.

Origami Sparrow

I wake to rain.
It is unconditional.

I could be anybody.
Drops are slapping the sidewalks

but the sky is endless vacancies between branches
the patchwork like the spaces my parents

once occupied in another season.
A sparrow lingers. Nothing stops the story

until the end. All endings are true
in their own way even the rain

will come to an end
even the bird.

If I change the blinds
or rearrange furniture

the sky I wake up to
will change to periwinkle morning.

I realize the sparrow
perched in the tree

is a ruddy leaf, an origami sparrow.
Trees fall into flight.

Staring at the sky is like
staring at the ocean.

I study the sky. It's all I've got.
The sky like an ocean,

each moment a staggering
formation of memory,

a texture of light
never to come again.

Charcoaled clouds
dangle their threats.

But there's no storm coming.
Maybe I'll get out of bed

or read Harry Potter.
Maybe I'll even wash the dishes.

Or my hair. Eventually I'll have to
wash my hair. The dishes can wait.

I dream up new arrangements
for my bedroom furniture

certain to change the shape of the sky.
The sky is all I've got.

What previously hurtled toward endings
won't budge. Pillows and sky

become a jumble
of folds and layers.

There's a patch of day-blue
like a wave returning.

I long to sit by the sea,
away from here

away from myself.
This is the view I've got:

trees shuddering their wings,
clouds hunkering down.

Ocean's breath in my ears.

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