Anna Rose Welch

Over the trees, birds hang themselves from the sky.

In portraits, the Christ Child clutches sparrows like these

in his fist. Something this ordinary is supposed to represent my soul.

In your fist, a tangle of my hair the color of a finch.

With each tug, my skull understands rapture.

Somewhere, I know there’s a hunter with astonishing red hands

tossing a heart aside like a broken clock. It leaves its brilliance behind

on his skin, on the snow like a scarlet ribbon torn from a gift.

This is how we decide who the hunter and who the hunted:

by whichever has the most light.

First there’s the blaze, then the chase, then the taking.

Into the woods like marionettes, the man, the sudden doe.

The trees tremble to flee themselves. The moon’s silver yawns

holy and wide like the jaws of a trap. Love, so much love,

thrown over a shoulder, its legs tied together with cord.

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