Jessica Guzman Alderman

The Visible World

Our-Fathers start when the plane
drops two, three times against

the wind and whatever lightning
elbows back. Surely someone hears

the press of fingers
in polyurethane, nails

snapping key chains
and charm bracelets in place.

What I mean is
I found a butterfly wing

and kept it. What I mean is once
the split-tongued prayer

filled the air around me, the shape
a single sheet makes falling

over a bed. But you can’t keep
a breath, except in seashells

and movies, the ones where you
catch your father right

before his heart stops, call
his name and he wakes

bleary and soft and lifts his arms
towards you. I mean imagination

matters when the rudder
trips against the wind,

the pulverized wing in your grip,
below you the city’s mirage of lights.

Jessica Guzman Alderman’s work appears or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Ecotone, Copper Nickel, The Florida Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. A doctoral student at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers, she reads for Memorious.