SELF-PORTRAIT AS BOY AND GREY GHOST

A boy marching up the drive, calling See?
Another diseased reservoir pigeon limp in his hands.
See?     As if to say Look at what I have seen.
Not at who I am.

More pointer than hunter. Like his Weimaraner
leashed to the porch each afternoon,
too distracted by the shadows of moving birds
to be concerned with someone else’s find.

The quiet of this dog. Not its lack of language.

How it’d been immediately hushed
to avoid upsetting neighbors, sleeping masters.
Willingness to be trained: affection.
Another way of saying See?     Or I understand.

Both the dog and boy—their shared knowledge:
where the grandmother stashes licorice
for blood-sugar emergencies: on the floor
beneath her bed, in an uncovered tin.

Their resistance to taking: a sentence never heard.
We understand.     The sentence tirelessly repeated.
More and more pigeons found.
Few revived, all of them offered.


Michael Montlack’s work has appeared in Cimarron Review, New York Quarterly, Poet Lore, Mipoesias, Lodestar, RealPoetik, Bloom, Cream City Review, Court Green, Gertrude, and other journals. He won the 2007 Gertrude Press Chapbook Competition; Cover Charge is forthcoming. Recently he was a Pushcart Prize nominee, a resident at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and a Frank O’Hara Award finalist. Currently he is editing an anthology, Diva Complex (Gay Men on Their Divas). He lives in New York City, where he teaches at Berkeley College and acts as associate editor for Mudfish.

 

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