Silhouette of flying birds

I try to read the hieroglyphs of geese
scribbled across the clouds, a wavering
message moving south. This means
something, I think, this shorthand of theirs,
but I am unversed in the language of birds.
Still I study each thin line as it passes
overhead, hoping to decipher, to understand.

I have always looked for signs
in the sky: cloud shapes, shooting
stars, the alphabet
of crossed jet trails. I used to look
for big news, a life-changer.
Now I just want assurance:

You’re doing fine.
Your wife will always love you.
Your children are safe.



Poem by Patrick Parks

Patrick Parks is the author of the novel, Tucumcari, and has had fiction published in a number of journals, including The Chattahoochee Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Farmer’s Market and elsewhere. He has received two Illinois Arts Council artist’s fellowships and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.