What Rough Beast | Poem for May 21, 2017

Claire Wahmanholm

light rain and governments falling
—Derek Walcott

spring: terror
and cherry trees
blooming helicopter
blades spiraling into
airspace into short-haired
lawns blade on blade
until the grass is unseen
unbreathing is green
on green on green
like wealth like sour
unswelled fruit in
an unwell mouth

as unwell months
pool like rotten light
like blood in a stagnant
leg like mud in
a stagnant lake

on which the rain
plummets (like lead
like bullets) and in
the strong and stronger
wind even buds
small twigs even

a raptor can be blown
out of the sky its
feathers so white
against the air which
is dark and solid
as a blackboard
against the dark sea
which is rising
to meet us which
is warming its
huge blue hands


Claire Wahmanholm‘s poems most recently appear or are forthcoming in Birdfeast, Bennington Review, The Collapsar, Newfound, New Poetry from the Midwest 2016, Bateau, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Memorious, The Kenyon Review Online, Handsome, Best New Poets 2015, Elsewhere, BOAAT, The Journal, Winter Tangerine, and DIAGRAM. Find her online at clairewahmanholm.com.

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