The Woodpecker of Saturnalia

by | Feb 28, 2018 | Poetry

—for M

The woodpecker
with diamond black feathers
pecks a hole below your shoulder,
the delicate but thick
tissue opened like an opal
studded cave, too shallow
& open for any creature
to survive the freeze.

As if there is no end
to forgetting, each winter,
leather popsicles of bat
ornament the cave—
Confused by hunger and cold,
the woodpecker bores a hole
into a frozen bat and pulls
out a ruby spike of blood,
an albino eye held to the sun.

The Woodpecker of Saturnalia by John-Michael Bloomquist

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


John-Michael Bloomquist was most recently living in Mexico as a Peace Corps volunteer. He lives in DC with his wife. They want to foster cats but Bastet hasn’t permitted it yet. His poetry has been published in Third Coast, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Superstition Review, and others.