by Karen George
Behind glass I watch the sky glutted with grackles
circling above an open field. A cluster breaks
from the mass and lands in bare branches
of a nearby hickory. One bird squawks and flaps
as another impinges on his perch. Seconds after settling
into tense suspense they swoop in one wave and plunge
black beaks in rain-sogged earth.
Though I lift my zoom lens again and again, I never
catch their synchronized rise or descent. Cannot fathom
how the connected current of fed bellies must feel
to lift off, wings wide, and rejoin the fold lipping
the bowl of sky. Do their jet bodies tremble as mine?
I cannot leave the glass door or lower the camera,
remembering how I tried in vain to capture breaching
whales in Alaskan waters on our last trip together.
“Just look,” you said. Your face, empty of hair
and chemo-pale, drank in the fluid black in livid
sea, and I knew what I was frantic to frame.
Karen George, author of Into the Heartland (Finishing Line Press, 2011), has work recently published in Memoir, Still, ninepatch: A Creative Journal for Women and Gender Studies, 94 Creations, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, The Single Hound, Ontologica, and Blood Lotus. She has been awarded grants from The Kentucky Foundation for Women and The Kentucky Arts Council. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University, and has taught fiction writing at The University of Cincinnati.