Feather, Halo, Hook and Line

by Erik Amundsen

When you get to the sky, they may offer wings.
You might take them, then again,
you could ask for a boat and the balance to stand
with the roll of the waves as sister/brother.
The world would flip in that place where blue and blue
come and rub together. The world will flip,
and all of us will fall; you can grab the lines that dangle
thin and clear from the new thick heaven, the new sky,
but remember, each one bears a hook,
because if salvation is what the copy claims,
it ought to pierce, drag up skin and draw blood.
I would watch it run from hand to arm, arm to chest,
I would see it trace its way in trenches along the toenail,
I will draw that one breath and climb.
Climb the ocean to God. Benthic Seraphim,
Humbolt Cherubim, Powers, Thrones, Virtues,
Domination; feather, halo, hook and line.
You could fish them from the air, soar, wheel,
gulp the sky and dive. Hide them away, safe as fact,
safe and hidden in your mouth, from hungry moon,
shining like the sharpest tooth; hungry moon,
breaking all its promises, except to enjoy you,
every morsel, even if the bites are too large and fast
for your taste to be remembered.
I would throw it into the sea, that moon, for God.
I would send it, crackling, cold-steam, freeze this place,
fix it, full of the things I found, the things I left.
They may offer me wings, and I might take them,
but then, there might be, somewhere, for me
a boat...

Taken broadly, Erik Amundsen has had an interesting life; he's been a baker, an itinerant schoolteacher, worked for two governments and gotten in bar fights overseas. He now lives at the foot of a cemetery in central Connecticut where he writes nasty little stories and poems that shuffle around in the night when he's not looking. Or at least he hopes it's them; something's got to be making those noises and it's not the furnace. When asked what what kind of mask would choose him, he replied as follows: "One of the winds, I think, cheeks puffed, face red and blue and horned, a long beard, braided with alium flowers. A trio of jet black spots marked beneath each eye."

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