by Celia Bland
Atavistic thumbs rise at the apex of each wing, decorative emphasis for the skin that stretches
its length, covering the bony truss of flight and four other articulations –
as if a hand were winged, as if every flap were a clapping of hands,
as if the event of flying were a shooing away.
Ears a-tremor hear the wings create wind, that encompassing gesture and that gesture’s billow.
Pause, little mammal, pleat your fingerling wings over your warm upsy-daisy body
precise in its hunting, prolific in its killing.
Let the tears that bead pinkish fawn
drip into the night like dew.
The truss of flight is transparent as skin between mouse toes, erect ears tremor with each gesture,
hearing the wind, the wing’s billows,
hearing the wings create the wind.
Celia Bland’s third collection of poetry, Cherokee Road Kill, was published in 2018. The title poem received the Raynes Prize. Selected prints of Madonna Comix, a image and poetry collaboration created with artist Dianne Kornberg, were exhibited at New York City’s Lesley Heller Gallery and published by William James Books with an introduction by Luc Sante.