Trajectories #17

Desperation chews a carcass
and won’t let go. It’s taken up
position in a quiet domestic yard
on an afternoon the sky’s a carnivore.
It’s grey
and getting greyer
up there among the clouds
that can’t decide
between civil disagreement and a storm
and if a storm, of rain
or roses. He looks to be an outcast,
one of a pack
left to fend for himself
with his flaking coat and the flash
of light from his teeth
as he grips his last chance.
People walk by with their minds somewhere
other than here, not quite
noticing how he’s a cross
between anchorite and dog, freshly come
from a cave on the mountain
into a world obsessed
with explaining itself, saying this belongs here
that belongs there
and stands half in fear, half
in wonder, when
the elemental struggle plays out
and whatever scraps remain
are food for hungry spirits.

David Chorlton, a longtime resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who has a European past rooted in industrial Manchester, England, and cultural Vienna in Austria. The latest chapter of his writing life is Speech Scroll, a long poem due from Cholla Needles Press in Joshua Tree, California. Read other articles by David.