In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster…
Waterlogged and barely floating
in a cove of Lake Acworth,
a dead blue heron draws flies,
bobs in the wake of a bass boat.
Its wings expand in the sludge,
fill with the water beneath them,
spread over the rest of its body
that rots among cattails and reeds,
feeds creatures I cannot see.
From the bridge where I walk
with my children, the wingspan
appears out of place, worn
by some exiled angel, or a boy
who took flight only to fall,
drown in this lake, drift to this inlet
where no one seems to notice.
Motor oil laps the heron’s feathers,
gathers with bottles, plastic wrappers,
fishing line at the reservoir’s edge.
Days from now, even these wings
will descend to silt, decompose,
dissolve into all that remains,
recede in the relics of our own myths.
Christopher Martin is author of the poetry chapbooks Everything Turns Away: Poems from Acworth and the Allatoonas (La Vita Poetica Press, 2014) and A Conference of Birds (New Native Press, 2012). His work has appeared in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia (Texas Review Press, 2012), Shambhala Sun, Ruminate Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, Still: The Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Town Creek Poetry, and elsewhere, with poems forthcoming in Grit Po: Rough South Poetry (University of South Carolina Press, 2014). The editor of Flycatcher and a contributing editor at New Southerner, Chris lives with his wife and their two young children in the northwest Georgia piedmont. You can find him online at www.christopher-martin.net.