by Khadijah Queen

___________________ the usual old shoe still lifes in October, birds again

I’m en plein air Victorian
patio-style when on the roof’s
right corner, a thuggish blue jay
lands heavily on tarred shingles
& departs after a feral glance
my way. Lighter, sparrows
inch closer in, moss-mouthed,
plumping eaves for nesting.
Flashes of jet on the jay’s face,
its tail, white on azure,
such a serious flight, in my
sunstroked eyes make a faded
photograph I double-expose,
which reminds me I left
a hair tie in your bucket seat.
But I’m alone at this
cabin. The floor’s wood grain
so old it snags my good socks.
What would I do barefoot?
Tire my legs out & splinter,
trying to run from soft creatures.


Miniature Odes

[Black Tears]: One fell from a chandelier, lacquered, catching sun. Inelegant, cartoonish eyes in onyx relief, diminished relative to cavernous space

[Lambrechts]: You only get one window in this scratch-off game—patchwork graphic wood. What seems like seeping approximates in revelation, an allowance of the eye—feathering practice, no dancing

[O collagist]: O montage maker of scenes ancient & modern & profane, O superimposer of meaninglessness
upon the suffering voiceless in the gloss of daily rags, O the figures magnificently gowned in the explosion precious untouched, O but not the women whose children fly limbless into sky or earth as men watch or die or kill, O painter of rainbows in soldiers’ hands, O gluer of Caucasian smiles against atomic skies, O Febrezer of Iraq, O arranger of models lounging legs open in the war zone, bare-assed models in the kitchen on fire, cloned acrobats in the verdant 1970s fields, fake-lashed fine line of the tightest rope, O if you left them a net, O a sea of ocelots beneath it

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