by David Solway (April 2020)
Bird, Oskar Kokoschka, 1972
All God’s Children
I was startled by a sound of thunder.
The bird hit the window, disintegrated
in a heap of gut and feather. Under
the gutters, the deck was blood. Her mate did
a kind of jittery dance, bent his head,
went still, then raised what remained in his beak
and took wing to where birds bury their dead.
That’s it—another elegiac freak,
just a miniscule part of the quota
of universal suffering and loss,
an infinitesimal iota,
a sacrificial wood chip from the Cross.
The bird is dead and Nature has spoken.
Tell me, how can God’s heart not be broken?
Friends, Oskar Kokoschka, 1917
Dressed to Kill
I see them walk in every walk of life.
I see them earn their daily living wage.
I see them in the midst of tempered strife
or bloody outcomes where the foes engage.
I see them at the circus masquerade
and at the theaters where all applaud
to watch deception expertly displayed.
I see them grow indifferent to God.
I see them shopping at the local mall.
I see them glittering and confident.
I see them where they rise and where they fall.
I see them feral and irreverent
and know there is no “rather,” no “instead.”
The ghosts are dressed to kill. I see the dead.
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