Beth Roberts
     for Eli William Roderick
     lived 9/15/93

first you were born, then
lived a time, a very short time, a life
with the look of a mayfly left
a petrified forest in me.

You must be excused,
(you didn't have everything
you needed) and God.
(First I was everything you needed.)

(As though) first again I was left
in full form a winged lack, black
black velocity, wind without
hitch to black out or elide

or fix what dropped you,
the very air. Only now I see
you've made of me a bird
among leaves, hundreds

of feathers like minute fingernails
but no real wings nor need
for wings with my kind . . .
and the small of my back,

former way of harms,
you've displaced with another,
fully formed of heft,
sweet, bit, resident.