Spring’s Medicine
By Taylor Patterson

I do not name him,

the river had done that long before

I showed up. Spring rain ticks

against my lemonade can while

the bullfrogs’ basin necks creak.

He catches my eye again,

turtle hugging the moldering log,

stoic amidst the rumbling downpour.

I twist my sneakers into the algae and mud,

planting them into the earth. My buttermilk cheeks

drip the atmosphere’s sweat,

ringlets of oak hair collecting the clouds

and splitting at the ends

like the river’s delta.

The turtle and I unwavered

by the storm.

I do not reach for him,

though I know I could.

I am trying to be less possessive

of the world. Nothing belongs to me,

and that is why I do not pick the

budding magnolias on the way home.

This does not frighten me, because

it means I too, belong to no one.

I remember Maj’s words,

“They are all named Freedom, first name and last.

Can’t tell ‘em apart. It doesn’t matter. Who told you

it did? Hello, Freedom. Good morning, Freedom.

I love you, Freedom. Don’t you love Freedom,

Freedom? Your Mama did.”