Strength has changed
appearance, ends with a mask,
begins with food of only a humane source.
In the late winter I built my nest,
made a cradle from branches and waited.
Now that spring is over and no offspring came,
I consider this cozy island a curse,
feel the heat approaching and have no joy to give.
Upstream, blood soaked in debt and weapons
I cannot wield, weapons
on the floor, by my feet, too heavy to lift.
I embrace the dread like I once did grief – inhabiting
my days with failed effort, trying to dull transgressions,
manage my Sisyphus rock
– push for the prize that never comes – push,
believing it will, knowing it won’t.
My barren longing, unremarkable, repetitive.
I would change my name, my shape, if it would help,
grow plumage where there is none, but my energy is crushed
with clinging, and the freedom that lords before me
like an oasis is only finished fiction,
a book of great magnitude, but
foiled of substance and lasting nourishment.
Copyright © 2020 by Allison Grayhurst
First published in “Chicago Record Magazine” August 2020
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