Ryan Vine

We’re walking to the car, crunching snowacross the yard, overburdened, as usualwith backpacks and books and lunchesin bags, when my son says, Youwould make a good grave. What? I say.My gun could do that. You don’t have a gun,I remind him, as he climbs into his car seatand waits, smiling, for the familiar zipand click of the belt. Dad, he says, staringdown the fingergun inches from my face,you’re my best friend. Across the street,the birch look thinner and whiter in snow.I turn off the news, but too late—too late—and drive slowly, so we can watch two crowstuck and shoot through the tangled branches,like the two he loves from his favoritestory book, Odin’s black angels, Hugin and Munin,thought and memory, sent out acrossthe world each morning with the hopethat they come back. Today, luckily, weunbuckle his seatbelt, and my son kissesmy hand before we cross the street.Today we hang his coat on the hookby his name, and he runs throughthe open door and into the bright roomof children playing without saying goodbye.

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Ryan Vine is the author of To Keep Him Hidden (Salmon, 2018), winner of the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award; the Weldon Kees Award-winning chapbook Distant Engines (Backwaters Press, 2006); and the forthcoming chapbook WARD (Texas Review Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and on National Public Radio. Ryan is professor of English at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN.

graphic for Blackbird Journal

Spring 2021

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University

Senior Editors: Gregory Donovan, Mary Flinn Senior Literary Editor: Randy Marshall Senior Online Editor: M. A. Keller

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