Patrick Whitfill • Song for the Hands

We flex our boot soles out. We crack cacti,
mine lizards, drive our sorrels twice past raw.
We prairie, riddled with crickets, ride calf-tied,
glass rabbits snag-set in the hardpan’s maw.

We gamble dust. We shirk what wind we owe
when cornstalks dross in full their draughty shawls.
Like slick revival choirs, the morning crows
unfold after we call, after we awe.

We watch our canyons fall past dust, from bones
drought outed, leathered to clay against strops
where stars cattle down, burrow-starved in droves.
We home. We don’t. We vigil where we drop.

Patrick Whitfill’s poems appear in Best New Poets, Tar River, Lake Effect, Unsplendid, and other journals. He lives in South Carolina and works at an independent book store.