In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Hawk Poem, and: What the Corpse Said, and: The Heads of the Apostles at Notre Dame
  • Trey Conatser (bio)

Hawk Poem

I hit a wall on hawk poems. I had to stop publishing them. . . . I just wish there was something else a hawk could do in a poem.

—Brian Bedard

Of course it has wings, but they’re faded as old towels in the laundry,

thumping around like a wind- up metronome just a few clicks from gone. We’ve talked

about this. Money’s tight but besides, haven’t you grown fond of the thuds as you would

a three-legged cat, that familiar pity that makes us feel at home? Do you pity

the machine, as if, to wax cliché, the rusted combine abandoned in a field? Birds

certainly don’t. They fly about, drop number twos on our objets

d’art and squeal like ill- behaved children, which is to say all children, the very [End Page 133]

reason we don’t want any, maybe blasphemy to some but we’ve settled

quite comfortably into these conversations. We can’t keep throwing out good

bread, as much as we like a distraction. They accumulate on the roof, the domestic

kinds: sparrows, blackbirds, blue jays, crows. The hawks were chased out of town by white

flight developments and you, so informed, mourn them as icebreakers with new neighbors

who, like me, don’t feed idealism. Too many times I’ve been the glass panel or fruit

stand in a B-movie chase scene, acute case of wrong place, wrong time, though not

shattered or bowled over by some wood faced, one trick pony, but soiled on by so many poets’

inspiration, the raison d’être of ratty clothes I’d otherwise throw out, though I’ll admit [End Page 134]

their nostalgia, when we first drew our lines of communication, awkward, yes, but small

victories were significant in our campaign. I’ll keep washing whatever collects

or cakes on and they’ll gray and soften like tissue, but even when the color’s gone

and the words are aphasic flecks still hanging on despite the eventuality, we’ll remember

those days and our purposeful philosophies, wonder, smirking, how we ever said such things.

What the Corpse Said

The best part is losing all senseof metaphor, it said, jaw

half hinged, hawking dirt on the plosives. The worms

weren’t so horrific, little Medusa head daily buds [End Page 135]

wagging like happy dog tails, nor was the bloated

viscera that off-putting next to absolute singularity, as I,

too fond of likeness, too habitual in equivocation,

watched flowers sprout from its chest as if reclaiming

abandoned concrete, fan out from its mouth as if

they were something to say.

The Heads of the Apostles at Notre Dame

If anything, they show us that even men made of stone don’t outlast history’s pocket watch, that globular black ballooning so glacially from the tiniest of breaths, some monumental sneeze and snot-swath having expended itself before anyone had spoken. First,

decay, but, then? Rot desiccates to sand, one (Paul, maybe) duned above the nostrils, eyes and brain effervesced like cherry blossoms in April gusts. They’re no Ozymandias, lone monolith long rid of its culture’s ruin. Rather, the heads are footnotes dwarfed by the architecture [End Page 136]

of their commemoration, vaults buttressed above billowing voids, what comes after sand. The faces gape from scattered stages of worn down to craggy lumps, no mouths left to speak whatever wisdom or admonishments we so easily imagine graveling out. Eager

for their impossible approval, we cast our forebears in stone. But, just as a fly finds elegant choreography in our most flailing jerks and slaps, the Apostles cannot answer our questions, nor do they know that we ask of them anything at all. What would

we assume of prismatic soup, from which vine sinewy walls and bloom skeletal towers? Such enigmatic geometry, the Apostles ponder, alone with their igneous religion. Our awe would catch in their eyelashes were the lids not drawn ever wide, overexposed, overwritten.

Ramses, at least, perceives, though briefly, the gnatish swarm over billowing wastes...


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