He was in the brown edge corners of gloom,
away from the chosen light inching like snow,
bringing its familiar shush.
He saw the downward draft in the fields
where the frozen blue calf’s skin was stuck to earth.
The snow was blinding — a reflection of failure.
The world had the subtle noises of pain: the cut wood;
the after-smells lingering of kerosene going out;
the fallen maple being removed from the calf’s body.
He had to take away the child
who witnessed it dying, calm the boy.
Explain, if he could, why this is God’s work
just as much as when the child saw it being born.
Take the three vultures out of the circling sky.
Take the maples unable to answer questions.
Take away the unrelenting hatred for all trees.
Take them. Take them all. All his false hopes.
Break the icicles in a child’s broken heart.
Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY. He has been nominated for 15 Pushcarts and 12 Best of the Net Awards. He is the winner of 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016). His poems have appeared in Blue Fifth Review, Kentucky Review, Perfume River Review, Bitter Oleander, Tipton Poetry Review, Nine Mile Magazine, Comstock Review, Centrifugal Eye, Stone Canoe, and others.