I was trying to rememberwhat reminded me of the gulls
we saw mired on the shore ofSalt Lake, as if blown or trampled
into the muck, unable to strugglefree again, beaks muddy, wings coated,
flapping and flapping, heat-dazed,paralyzed, and all the time, salt
doing what salt does, dessicating skin,mummifying the tender flesh.
How the bones of a half-buried wingjutted from sand, beseeching.
I cannot even save myself. [End Page 56]
Ilyse Kusnetz (1966–2016) was a poet, essayist, journalist, and author of Angel Bones (2019); Small Hours (2014), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry; and The Gravity of Falling (2006). Her lyrics and voice are featured on The Interplanetary Acoustic Team's debut album 11 11 (Me, Smiling). A professor at Valencia College, she lived with her husband, poet Brian Turner, in Florida.