Meteorology
Jessica Fordham Kidd
  The Ledbetters have the biggest pasture
  with a wide, rolling hill that opens to mountains
  melting in the distance.
  It’s the only place that gives some space

  from the woods, the vines, the dense brown smells
  of everything living and twining around your breath.
  Bad Jamie used to slip out there with buddies
  and smoke a joint, take some pills,

  watch the stars come closer, retreat,
  come closer, retreat,
  and slide down into his belly
  laid bare in the sticky summer night.

  Girl Jamie comes in the day and finds the right spot
  with plenty of distance between cow shits
  so that she can stretch her arms to her sides or above her head
  and watch the blue skies race through the unobstructed view.

  The cumulus clouds shape and break at her thoughts
  and the sun lights them into rims of black and yellow and silver.
  When Girl Jamie holds her breath, she sees the granny birds
  plunge into the mounds of vapor and reemerge.

  They carry strands of heaven down with them
  and Girl Jamie guesses they’ve been lining the attic with that stuff
  for a while now. The great-granny bird swoops close
  and leaves a white star of droppings just beside Girl Jamie’s left hand.

  “You’re real and you’re not,” Girl Jamie calls out
  as the bird glides away.
  “I’m real and I’m not,” she whispers as she slips off her shirt
  and lets the sun warm her like it would warm the white fur underbelly
  of a very wild thing.


Jessica Fordham Kidd is a lifelong Alabamian. She is the associate director of first-year writing at the University of Alabama, and her poems have appeared in Drunken Boat, Goblin Fruit, and The Paris Review among others. 


more by Jessica Fordham Kidd:
The Birth of Bad Jamie