Janice, Who Was Tall (From Missing Persons)


We thought she was slightly stooped on purpose,

to be our height and, for a little while at least, 

not stand out: our beautiful crane. And she 

always avoided the center of things, stepping

back to lean against a wall or blackboard, a mountain


in the distance, miles and miles away, and so of no concern.

When she spread out her arms we thought she could 

soar above the playground, but the irony was 

she was afraid of heights and didn’t come along when we 

climbed West Peak where the old castle awaited us; 


and when she was in college a gust of wind blew 

her VW off the road somewhere in Colorado or Idaho

and we were so saddened by the news: it was as if someone 

had put our lovely bird in a cage and tossed it into the air 

and expected her to fly and carry the cage along with her.



Finalist for the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize