Winter touched me as it touches root.
A tree shoots up, then out,
then up again. I grew that way
when he died. There were ghosts,
and I stumbled across holes
in the earth large enough to den
some animal—I didn’t believe
in things like before. All spring,
from the driveway, I waited for
the bus to leave, for a sweatshirt arm
to wipe frost off the back-hatched window.
Sometimes Dad said the screaming
in the woods was bobcat.
When the algae-slick water rose in our pool,
it looked like the hump of a fish
before the surface breaks. It was summer.
A night with little moon. Did you—
do you see it? I asked, stepping back,
cold as topsoil. Dad bent over the nylon ring,
peered past the cheap pool;
I was sure he hadn’t seen the water move,
I was sure the living were the quiet ones.
Jacob Lindberg serves as Editor-In-Chief of Up North Lit and holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas. He is the recipient of the 2020 McKnight Fellow and 2019 Carolyn F. Walton Cole Fellowship in Poetry from the University of Arkansas. His work is found or forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, Adroit, Sycamore Review, and others. He currently teaches high school in Minneapolis.