The cranes return,

and we return to the cranes.

Father, mother, daughter,

none of us are each other’s blood.

One of us is yours.


The world you left behind is full

of migrating birds. Snow geese,

trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes,

that travel the map from south to north.

The world is full of a girl with red-gold hair,

a girl with a gap in her teeth

and capes that fly out

behind her in the wind.


I traveled with her

from Metairie, Louisiana

to Lincoln, Nebraska.

I brought her from the hospital

where, separated by 35 years,

she and I were both born.


She’s guessed your passing

in the absence of information

that follows your name now

when I tell her how her blood

came to her through her birthmother

sparked by you from cell

to growing body.


Last year, your poisoned liver finally failed,

and so her mother and I took her to the river.

The cranes return, and we return to the cranes.