Missing Something

by Alex Arnold

—After Jack Gilbert’s “Finding Something”

I say there’s a bird in my bosom singing,
because that is where I learned to hold it.
I sit in a field just short of an acre the last family
had in tobacco in this valley that lies along the foot
of our branch and the water running strong
all the year into the wide river two miles below.
The young gander died today, out here alone,
his sturdy neck tangled up in the string
I only tied onto their bath to hold up
its red rubber stopper, so it would not be lost
for the water I need to bring to them tomorrow.
It’s but one of their few demands of me.
As his gold body grows stiff in my lap,
the neck drapes loosely across my leg.
How little I have learned of it.
His chest holds in the air like a child
catching away the fireflies of summer,
all bound and shining in place to their last.

Alex Arnold lives and works as a nonprofit project coordinator in Madison County, North Carolina. He is new to writing poetry and hopes to grow as a writer and a reader through future Great Smokies Writing Program classes.