This poem has risen up from a modern world

Of ugly American cities.  It has survived

Dogma and rednecks.  It has learned to praise

The sun and earth, to lower

Its quirky, unneeded tail

Right into the thick of things.


This poem has small blind eyes

And an accidental bump

On its nose to feel through the dark.

It will never grow feathers

Or a unicorn’s spiral.  It has accepted

Its horns like two mushrooms,

And will sacrifice itself for other

More efficient poems,

With larger muscles and sharper claws.


This poem scuttles along

On tiny legs, taking joy in the fact

That it has breathed its weak, small breaths,


Like a glowing ash

That has drifted up into a tree,

Everyone amazed that it has lasted

Its two or three minutes,

Before it gives itself up

To a branch’s black enveloping wing.








Photo by Ruth Ellison