After our son died, my wife found himin coincidences—sightings of hawks, mostly,at the oddest of times and places, and thenin a pair of redtails that took up residence,nesting in a larch above our barn, and howtheir low, frequent sweeps just a few feet above usbefore rising over our kitchen roofmade it seem as if they were looking in on us.In a way, it all made sense, our son so at homein high places—the edges of mountain trails,walking on a roof, or later, after he becamea house painter, at the top of a forty-foot ladder.So many mornings we woke to the redtails'jolting screeches and, even if I was a casual believer,their presence multiplied my lovefor the ordinary more every day. We never thought,of course, any of those hawks was our son—who would ever want that?—but, once,watching one rise and rise on a draft of air,I thought of Icarus soaring toward the sun—as if an old story could provide the distanceI needed—waxed and feathered, his arms winged,and remembered a babysitter's frantic callto come home, immediately, after she'd foundour ten-year-old nearly forty feet upin an oak tree. I can almost hear him again, laughinghigh up in the sky, throned on a branch,his feet dangling, knowing nothing but the promiseof heights as he waved to me—and I must have looked very smallcalling up to him, staying calmso falsely as I pleaded with himto come down, to come down now.
Copyright © 2020 by Robert Cording
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Robert Cording has published nine collections of poems, the most recent of which are Only So Far and Without My Asking (CavanKerry Press). A new book on poetry, the bible and metaphor, Finding the World’s Fullness, is out from Slant. He has received two NEAs in poetry. He has won a Pushcart Prize in poetry, and his poems have appeared in publications such as the Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry, Hudson Review, Kenyon Review, The Common, Agni, New Ohio Review, Orion, and Best American Poetry, 2018.
Dinty W. Moore
Jill Allyn Rosser
Assistant Poetry Editor
New Ohio Review is a national literary journal produced by Ohio University’s Creative Writing Program. Now in its tenth year, NOR has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and support from the Ohio Arts Council. Work from its pages consistently appears in the Best American series and the annual Pushcart anthology.