The Way Back



She said there was nothing quite like

the threshold on which a sparrow

forgets its shadow for another’s. Or a

sparrowhawk, perhaps—the male’s down-

feathers gone orange, as if reaped

from burgeoning sunup. Not that instinct

had ever mattered. When struck

in the upward swing,

doesn’t everything look the way

it once was? I mean—morning

as an amputation of nightfall. Hands as

broken-off, early branches of magnolia,

having waited long enough for springtime. We

have seen the way such bodies

become impermeable. Shoulders move

slowly, riddled with wingmarks. We

saw the talons—one, two—cleaving the way,

one way, back through all that rock. And what

about our word we made for escape? At what age

will even that be unliveable? She said,

I think that day was the happiest I’ve ever been.

She said magnolia was the first flower in all the world.

Leo Kang is tucked away somewhere dour in Yorkshire, England. His poems have been published in Eunoia Review, Kissing Dynamite, Tilted House, and others. This autumn, he begins his English degree at the University of Cambridge. On good days, he still believes in dragons.