Abandoned Nest

Angela Voras-Hills
| poetry


There were enough leaves around my feet

to bury a child.


A second moon had been predicted,


but looking up through branches,

I saw only bones

pricking through the floor of a nest—


their existence a sign

of nothing. When you left,

I searched your half-empty drawers, discovered

you were erratic as the sky.

Still, I wrapped my neck in your barbs


of pearl and lace, climbed the fort’s ladder

to hold it down alone. I was barefoot.

The walls were eggshell.


Bottles of shampoo stiffened on the tub’s rim,


lawn chairs rusted in gravel.

The boys had left

guns in the closets. They would be back


soon for sandwiches. In the living room,

the buck’s head collected dust.

I waited, washing dishes in water I couldn’t see through

until only air sputtered from the faucet, cold

as a memory of your voice or wind


creaking in the boughs and then

the first snow falls. All winter, mice take solace

in the woodshed, eat the poison.


The boys stop to eat and leave.


Through the kitchen window,

I watch the owl collapse

like a white log from the oak branch.


I empty the fridge of pickles and ketchup

long expired

and leave the door open for the light—

Angela Voras-Hills earned her MFA at UMass-Boston and has been awarded grants from The Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Key West Literary Seminar, and was a fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston. Other work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Memorious, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Best New Poets, among other journals and anthologies. She currently lives in Madison, WI, where she’s Literary Arts Program Co-director for Arts + Literature Laboratory.

On White Avenue, a Maple Leaf