Wings by Lance Lee

long boardwalk stretching into the sea
Wish You Were There by Almighty Worm. CC license.

 

……Gulls feast in freshly furrowed and sown
Salinas fields early February, early warmth
……far from the cold Big Sur wind-thrashed waves
beyond the Santa Lucias:
…………………………………..or startle, confetti
……thrown in the blue sky before they settle again
in Carmel River’s dune-protected mouth.
……How do they manage tonight when the wind
turns Lear-mad and howls and tears at the eaves?
……I cannot sleep, although sleep smooths the lines
of the woman I have grown old beside, beside me.
……All night the storm thrusts inland so morning
bares a dust-brown day where gulls
……crouch between the furrows brown waves
or nestle behind the dunes as a white-capped sea
……tumults towards the horizon.

When the wind wanes they soar, not feeding
……not settling, their hunched patience forsworn
Do they fill the air from manic relief—
……or balanced between too much and too little
fly from natural joy?
………………………………Could I swoop over that sea
……in a dazzle of wings in such a moment?
Fear……conflict……hunger……purged?
……I stand between so many worlds, life……love……age,
man……animal……and the world’s slow death,
……my only wings my words.


Lance Lee
Lance Lee’s poetry is published widely in American and English journals. Elemental Natures (2020), his seventh poetry book, includes a selection of work spanning more than thirty years of poetry, art, and essay. Seasons of Defiance (2010), placed as a finalist in the Eighth National USA Book Awards. He has also published The Death and Life of Drama and A Poetics for Screenwriters, plus plays and novels. He is a past Creative Writing Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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