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