Marie C. Lecrivain

The Long Night of the Last Swan Prince

But the youngest had a swan's wing, instead of an arm;
for she had not been able to finish the last sleeve of the coat -
Hans Christian Andersen / The Wild Swans (1838)

Here, in the darkness before dawn, is where
my memories come back, silent and quick
like the days when my brothers and I flew
from curses, filicide, and homesick
longings stuck fast in our throats. The sun
was our friend, though I'm the only one
who felt this way when its gold tendrils spun
through me, and left me giddy and undone
with a longing that's never left - to be
aloft once more. Instead, I'm bound to earth
with half a seraph's lot which seems to me
a greater scourge than death, but not one worth
confessing to my brethren who embrace
my right side as though my fall from grace

were contagious. In truth, I can't blame them
for avoiding the seductive allure
of a swan's wing, or the dark thoughts that stem
from their puritanical minds unsure
of this freakish fusion of man and beast.
On occasion, there's strangers who befriend
me to fulfill their fetish, or at least
to lay claim to what it's like to spend
a carnal night wrapped in feathers and flesh.
These days, I prefer to be left alone
to weep, or sometimes, to dream of a fresh
start in a country where I'll not be known
or scorned. It's where I'll achieve my goal;
the peaceful reconstruction of my soul.

Rich Murphy

Ra Ra at Intergalactic Now U.

After the accident where instinct died,
road kill, and tradition, the first responder,
returned with an empty ambulance,
only species members with purpose
tucked into armpits hobble across anxiety
and boredom upon a rock in space.

The undriven limbs collapse among stones.
Passionate search parties turn over boulders
and knock down tall grass to find
fuel and mechanisms for livers lumped,
defeated consciousness, hardened hearts.

Uneven underfoot, the new day
that seems to break into momentary desires
begs for crutches and over-compensation.
Even lava, granite, and sand preach
at the school Beyond Expectation
where the best colleagues mine
personal potential for wellsprings.

Gripping the two railings, animal and angel,
at the No Hands Rehabiliation Center
everything rattles until from ancient holds
a questioner lets go to become.