By Addy Mahaffey
Here’s to Dad’s warped records, turning
to tar in the August heat of the garage.
Beneath the green lake, they are plucking
you raw. Stroking the strings of soft hair,
fine as volcanic ash, fine as the fuzz on
a baby bird. The head of a child is a
tender thing, echoing with the acoustic
murmuring of bumblebees. Here’s
to the long-gone canary soul that once
sat inside your skull, now yellowed as the
preacher’s teeth. By now you are all-bone,
and they have taken your hair for bait.
Here’s to eleven years of driving down
a gravel road towards home where you,
the deer-headed daughter, spring
in front of every headlight you see.
this is a holographic postcard
from my future place of rest
buried underneath a sycamore in
the northwest corner of a
park where it’s always just
between spring and summer
and everything is warm and
lush with life, green and
ever-verdant, clover ellipsing
the sprawled roots.
and there’s a plaque,
eco-tacked to the bark
telling you i made this
tree with my body, that
the dust of my ribs grew
the branches like limbs
and the goldfinch you see
is sitting on my spine.
i was placed here gently
on a wednesday morning
by my children and their children
and their children’s children
without so much as a swan song
but rather a full and trusting until.
Addy Mahaffey studies English and philosophy at the University of Arkansas. She is the 2017 recipient of the Felix Christopher McKean Memorial Award for Poetry. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing.