Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Making It Back

Brian Swann
From Prairie Schooner, Vol. 84, No. 3 (Fall 2010)

I left when a rose flush
on the snow started
the whole thing again and
didn’t turn back till,
moonlit, I was walking
through a sub-zero night,
the world’s frequencies low
as I stopped to listen,
then followed some moon-
deepened marks like Braille
going in and through me but
I was lost, soon reduced to
prayers even if they were
only notes to the self.
Snow on bushes collapsed
as I pushed through. Bones,
bones, and more bleached
bones, trees. I tried to
push ahead of myself to
prove I was going forward
even if I didn’t know
if forward was the right
direction, remembering that
in some of the cultures that
were wiped out ’round here
the past was in front and
the future behind, but hoped
I could come out the other
side by sheer persistence,
along coordinates of guesswork.