Karl Kirchwey


Wetting a forefinger, the winter breeze
       turns the pages of a sodden magazine
abandoned on a bench. Like a scarf from a purse,
       one woman opens another and draws her on.

A hawk sits in the top of a tree nearby,
        with huge pale yellow eyes, turning its head,
then pushes off. The branch swings convulsively,
        freed of that weight, its chunky buteo glide.

One morning I found the wings of a white dove
        intact on the pavement with nothing in between,
just the bloody tendons of consuming love,
        the body shed at last, and imagination

having succeeded in taking flight somewhere.
        After a while their positions have changed.
One woman is licking the fingers of another,
        and neither is wearing a scarf. The breeze has arranged

all this in the intervals of pale sunlight.
        What occupies that flightless space naturally?
A gaze, unblinking in the melting quiet.
        Such are the prompts of appetite in February.