You're Getting Warmer
Barely twelve months after, we came home to find the house no longer 
in the same place we left it. Washed away as everything has been 
by storms we’ve never seen before. A man in an ill-fitting suit 
gave us the news. My father stood between the cinder blocks smoking cigarettes

and stubbing them into the old dirt. The sky was clean and young 
like the child of my father or the child my father was. Water filled the fields. 
Winds poured through the porous shadows. The last black mass of crows 
crested like water, then arced like an eyebrow, then left us alone 

like the rest of the animals. Winter came. We lived with the ill-suited man 
in his office by the freeway. All night the cars wheezed. I hid my love while young 
and hardly made any noises or movements. It grew as a weed under cement, delicately 
cracking the sidewalk. Someone stood before me at my bedside. Another time 

I was a horse led around by a young boy. Right here I nearly died one night in February, 
when the ice was thick and I had thought it nice to lie down on. The last time I saw 
my father alive, we waited in the stalled car, still softly modern as children were then, 
only half afraid of the forest and the cold, while he wandered into the waist-high drifts 

for help. He shed his clothes. We’ll never know what for. They say
in the final stage of hypothermia one feels hot. They say he may have been leaving a trail 
to find his way back to us. Nameless flocks of birds called to him but could not lead him 
anywhere he really wanted to go. Still, it is helpful to know he was not alone. My father

says music bores him or makes him angry, he can’t remember which. My father 
taught us, if the air is warm enough, follow the smell of salt sea and sedgy grass 
to the edge of the land. A road most likely runs along the coastline, or at least the sky 
opens up, a bright comfort to us. The green succulents are enough to last us out here 
a week, maybe more.

ALANA DeRIGGI received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan. She lives in Ann Arbor and teaches preschool.
The Adirondack Review