Burying Our Uncle’s Bones by E.R. Vanett

In the hour of the birds

we wait.

In the seasons of the times

it goes by in frozen

metal frames…In frozen metal frames did I

but once see your face under bridges. Dark lights. Under bridges I walk

and the passing streetcars fly. We announce our bodies

to the lights. Then we present the birds as burnt

offerings. But they will not burn…

The black ice that sits on top of bridges. Bridges say something

for birds calling in distress. We wait.

Under the bellies of the Danish Red,

little swallows fly under, then perch

holy and unburdened on the backs of cattlehead

and then they sing in the

symphonies in the hours of waiting.


In frozen metal frames did I but

once see your face under bridges. Streetcars

passing. I often go there, but it is not a bridge anymore

covered in the thinning sheets of black ice. Danger.

No. It is the thinning. The framed-air among us

hot and somehow Red. Birds perched on the backs of grey-stones.

Grey-stones etched with your

name in it.


This cemetery surrounded by grass growing.

I looked out over the heads of stones and when I looked I was startled at that green field

I mistook for bridges framed in iced-air… I glimpsed, I shook, for the

world had not yet presented to me Danish Red.

E. R. Vanett was born in South Bend, Indiana and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from Indiana University. Vanett’s work has been published in the Oakland Arts Review in 2019, and has also received the undergraduate poetry prize in 2018 in Analecta.

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