The 2021 Detroit Metro Times Fiction Issue

Page 11 of 20

What Feathers We Might Find There

By Peter Markus

Those places that he walks alone

or with his dog are like rivers

you can't step into twice.

The tracks left behind in the snow

or mud are mostly his own.

What if the birds crossing the sky

left evidence of wing-flap,

of beak-song. How would star or sunlight

break through such abundance?

What fine lines of symmetry

might we find there. What symbols

to decipher. The desire to choose

between water and air, tree and dirt.

To rise suddenly, largely unseen,

when what is a not-bird comes too near.

How we stop and look skyward with an envy

that plucks the heart of its feathers,

that pulls the not-winged among us down.

The rubber muck boots we walk in

sinking deeper into the mud.

Peter Markus is the Senior Writer with InsideOut Literary Arts and has a new book, When Our Fathers Return to Us as Birds, forthcoming in September from Wayne State University Press.

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