Resting over Flat Branch Creek

by Daren Dean

for Cassandra and Claira

We see the heavens reflected darkly in a stream
through the frame of an oxidized bridge,
rust-colored tintype providing contrast for the
overrun forest, vines choking hedge and pine.
You wanted to throw stones in the water.
Unwanted ponyhairs forgotten as the pebble
cast into the olive green water like your eyes.
Your mother kneels holding your waist tight
as if you might transform from girl, to bird,
to fish, to water, to stone, emerge from
the surface, shattering on the creek rock.
Another geode plummets to its fate from your
hand as the light’s scattered aura reflects
the god in the afternoon sky with whites,
blues. A hint of days we will spend apart
wandering down the one-lane trails alone
while other three-quarter moons hover
in the daylight sky watching the world curve.

DAREN DEAN is the author of the novel Far Beyond the Pale (Fiction Southeast Press, 2015). His fiction, poetry, and interviews have appeared or are forthcoming in BULL (men’s fiction), Midwestern Gothic, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Oklahoma Review, Ecotone, Image, The Chattahoochee Review, Fiction Southeast, Missouri Life, The Nervous Breakdown, Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, and others. His story “Bring Your Sorrow Over Here” was selected as Runner-up in Yemassee’s William Richey Short Fiction contest by George Singleton. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He also worked for several years in Acquisitions and Marketing at the University of Missouri Press. Dean is currently with the English department at LSU in Baton Rouge.