SMALL EARTH CAROLINE BRICKLEY Lovely living thing. With the pink nose twitching between moss-mild cheeks. With the eyes of small stars rising inside trembling lashes, acquiescence as branches sewn into sky. You let the world enter into you as easily as wind into September fields of goldenrod. Or sun into the earth’s green-skinned faces— veined, hungry, and honest as their silver lungs of bark. A butterfly blooms in the cocoon you make from your curious fists. A bird sings and buries its blue song into your warm nest of heart. You are the closest I have come to seeing my body as more than just an ultimatum. To stretching my skin taut beneath the sun and watching the vulnerable silhouette of my ghost’s tangled fibers press against the bars of blue blood, unaired and envious as our dreams.