Little Sister

Winter for Skylark
by Maj Ragain

reading by Jason Ryan

reading by Steven Heine

My wings are gone.
Blue 72 Buick Skylark

won’t fly me out of here.
Skylark laid its transmission
onto the frozen driveway today,
dying in a widening dark ruby
pool of ATF fluid.

Thirty nine dollars got

Skylark dragged away.

A woman buys me whiskey
and flannel lined pants

to keep my bones warm.
Her breath is acetylene.
It is still winter.

At the old Shields cemetery,
southeast of Olney,

a flowering patch of Dragon’s Blood
blankets the grave of a child,

every spring.

I saw this child once,

when I was six, as I was walking

home from Shields school,

past the cemetery.

She stood by the iron gate,

naked, thin as willow,

the color of lime water.

She covered her small breasts

with her hands.

She pleaded for something I couldn’t hear.

This is the voice

I have been listening for, all these years.

It is the voice this poem wants to speak with.
How to make a mouth under the Dragon’s Blood.

Little Sister
oil on panel
12 x 12”

Maj Ragain. Burley One Dark Sucker Fired: Collected Poems. Working Lives Series, Bottom Dog Press. Huron, OH, 1998, p.48

Damen, Jessica & Ragain, Maj, Home To Sargasso Sea-A Long Journey of Loving Collaboration, exhibition catalog, June 1-July 14, 2018, KSU Downtown Gallery, Kent OH, Kent State University School of Art Collection and Galleries and the Wick Poetry Center with support from the Ohio Arts Council. pp 36-37