BJ Buckley

Pine Row Issue No. 9 Spring 2024 - Featured Poet

Instructions for Resurrection

Look for the tightest weave of grass, cement-hard

clot of mud, still holding last year's nest

to the storm-stripped branch.

Winnow the grass with your icy fingers –

the wind does – tall grass that has laid itself down

like a shroud. Bones of a fox kit. Small grey feathers.

Turn over the earth as soon as frost leaves it.

It will be stony. Here, broken arrowhead, rusty bottlecap.

There, grief. There, its fertile silences. Plant peas.

Scatter tiny seeds from the worn white envelope –

from old Mrs. Ksena, 1939. Something will grow.

My grandmother's friend. A-a-a, kotki dwa –

Save small treasures the worms bring up.

Pearl buttons, the size for a baby's dress.

Water the tulips. Don't forget.

Goose cry. Coyote sonatas. Magpies rattling

sorrows from your bones. Raccoon. She is washing

cat kibble in the water dish by the door.

Can you hear the echoes? Shovel slices

earth, and your father is turning the garden

so you and your sister can plant radishes.

The buds on the lilacs are small tight fists –

their ghost scent travels, timeless, over sixty years.

Childhood, that other, abandoned country.

Subzero auroras dance across the northern horizon.

You are never alone. Lonely . . . well. First bear

is awake, with her cubs. Twins. Hungry.

B.J. Buckley is a rural Montana poet & writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools & Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades. Her prizes and awards include the Joy Harjo Prize from CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts; a Wyoming Arts Council Literature Fellowship; The Cumberland Poetry Review's Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize; the Poets & Writers “Writers Exchange Award” in Poetry; the Rita Dove Poetry Prize from the Center for Women Writers, Winston-Salem, NC; and The Comstock Review Poetry and Poetry Chapbook Prizes.  Flyover Country is forthcoming by Pine Row Press.

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