It was spring, no I mean dusk, and the killdeer began stepping up out

of intricate doors in the field.


They sported unseen fires beneath their downy vests.


Their presence had been warming the soil before the corn crop, except

for their dead sisters, brothers who had joined the soil.



No, that was in my dream, before the part where the covers had parted

and a voice I didn’t recognize asked a question.


It felt like an ancient alphabet trying to spell some message.


It left a churning in my belly for the rest of that day, and again the day




And the killdeer, that first night, had yet to break their wings.


They had no fear of owls, nor of hawks in the morning, after



And the toe prints they left in the muddy swale read as the myth of



Steve Fay began life twelve miles from the Mississippi River in western Illinois. Since the mid-1970s, many journals have published his poetry, which lately appears (or is forthcoming) in: Closed Eye Open, Comstock Review, Decadent Review, Jabberwock Review, Menacing Hedge, Santa Clara Review, Tar River Poetry, The Dewdrop, TriQuarterly, and Watershed Review. His collection, what nature: Poems (Northwestern UP, 1998), was cited by the editors and board of The Orion Society as one of their 10 favorite nature/culture-related books of the 12-month period in which it appeared. He lives among wooded ravines and a donkey pasture in Fulton County, Illinois.


Steve Fay

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