a poem by Iris Wright
is the clawing for feathers,
hands only supplying tar like the
image of a vulture’s plight
when the early taxonomist
sees the ravage of a scavenger.
To not eat what is fresh
is to eat what is rotten, blending
the balmy flesh with new flesh. The
marble now desecrated by the paint
hidden by historians. It’s the
shell of a hope chipping at the
nails’ motion; gathering under them
and sticking to the skin. And the
nails come again to scrape, but
the palms earn no grip.
Brain is a hodgepodge of shingle samplings
patched over, leaving an opening for smoke
to escape. Vapor wafts up. Hyperbolic only
at the molecular level—only at the
illusory level. The hands in the head
reach and fly and swoop past and here
they grasp but don’t need to be clenched
to be bathed in FREEDOM!
but not freedom. Body cloaked in the vulture’s
feathers fails flight and sinks.
Lulls in a slow swing until limbs crawl,
hands claw once more for FREEDOM.
The raven may mock misery with wisdom
but the vulture is only trying to survive.
Somedays in his swooped flight he sees
the solar system, but mostly he sees
only stars. Head bashed into asphalt
as if another blow could shake his
The nod of the violin bow or the picture a
pendulum draws sympathize with his
endless path toward and away from
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