Two Poems
On the Updraft

The dog-called hills are pleated with
       tongues as I drive this blue hatband
toward you. On the sides of the road,
       auburn cattle move over descendant paths,

their pendent udders low enough to
       draw ovals in the dirt. Like the needle
of a compass, I’m on the edge of an orbit.
       Last summer at the lake I collected the

hard, black seeds of daylilies and absently
       pinched them out of their pods. You
walked with me, and that hot day turned
       into a Moroccan night. We searched

for Draco while my fingers kept toying
       with the seeds in my pockets. You
lifted my hands and made me feel your
       teeth, and then you clamped down and

gnawed me into stillness. These same
       fingers that have so easily plucked
hummingbirds as they stole the sweetening
       water out of a rusting downspout rested

for you. There’s a serpent mound
       in Ohio that I long to see. My desire
for it crackles—a visible hum. In the
       gift shop there, I’ll look for a book of

indigenous plants. Dogbane and cherry
       trees have flowers that open all at once.
It’s amazing how they organize themselves
       so quickly and well. A response to impulse:

legions of pink urges cover the hills.
       Do the flowers know the design of the
ground that supports them? A flattened
       gyre still implies motion, yet I’m hardly aware

of these thoughts in my mind. I’m just
       travelling on the updraft here, looking
for a place that’s fingerless. My hand lifts
       out of the window soaring toward you.


The daily lines dot the verge getting ready to
tuck into themselves. My mind’s thick and
gummy like the flesh of a red pear, and last night

I dreamed of pheasants again. Their black necks
thick and ringed with coral. I was driving along
a country road, and they came out of the midnight
woods, lined up to stare at me, their eyes as accusing

as cataracts. This morning I found myself thinking of
a light blue Easter suit my mother once made for herself,
the orchids she sometimes pinned to its lapel.
JESSICA A. DECKARD is a native of upstate New York, longtime New Orleans resident, and recent transplant to the Midwest. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry has received several awards, including the Shelby Foote Prize for the Essay awarded by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society (2009). A graduate of Colgate University, she is currently finishing an MA in literature at Indiana University South Bend.