Triptych with Wings

The moth that arrives in a storm
angles its wings for speed. Wide as hands
spread open, it rides
a lightning flash to Earth.
It’s a hiss
wrapped in wind
when it slaps
at a wire screen and rattles
a door in its frame
as a message marked Urgent
from fate.
                It comes unbidden
through forest where darkness
is the guide, and its ink and velvet
markings are
every memory’s first draft.

The hawk whose wings extend forever
shakes a cloud loose
from his primaries as he crosses
land hewn from light
whose gods still reside in canyons
where the cottonwoods
speak of water to the sun,
he goes to roost between stars
as the sleeping rains awaken
and rise toward the blossoming moon.

The vulture who eats history
waits on a snag
for time to pass until
the pickings are rich: a Spanish arquebus,
a miner’s broken lamp, a bedspring
from a brothel once in flower, potshards
and a bottle
                 filled with moonlight
since the whiskey ran dry.


David Chorlton

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