by Canese Jarboe

You left a feather, oily and black —
the size of a finger bone,
against the cracked lichen.
You devoured the lean body
of a snake. Glossed green
scales tough against your beak.
Once, you perched on the heart-pink
cedar of a windowsill and the girl
inside swore she felt your tiny claw
pierce her heart.
Alone, you warned sons to kneel
beside feverish beds, wives to follow
freshly kerosene-dipped wicks into the forest
to search for their husbands.
But when you fly with her, your mate
for life with her wide white
belly, you don't carry death.
You make the couple on the porch swing
kiss harder — you make the people under
each glittering shingle roof
make love longer.

Canese Jarboe is a senior studying Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.

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