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  Alice Stinetorf

Published on: 10/15/2015
The Altitude of Home

Having found a box within a sphere
I questioned the shape of things.
Having found tyranny in regret
I told the past that it was free
to move about the cabin.

      An airplane cast a shadow
upon my house today.
      Vagrant clouds loosed torrents
upon my house today.
            Its gutters sang of grace.

A memory grew clogged with leaves
      rejected by their mother.
A memory slept on sticky bark
      and counted chafing strips
            beyond remembrance.

Having found a cloud within a box
      an airplane sang of grace
            beyond the shape of things.

            Rejected by its gutters
      my house loosed torrents
of sticky bark and slept.

I told a memory that it was free
to move about the cabin.
The past grew clogged with leaves.

Published on: 10/6/2015

Convinced that she could teach a baby bird to fly,
a young girl cupped him off the ground
to which he'd fallen, beneath the apple tree.
She tossed his spindly-feathered body to the sky—
he never made it to his nest, instead coming to a violent rest
upon the peat and twigs— but she was not
a quitter, then. She cupped the bird, again, and thrust him,
granny style, to the mercy of the wind.
He only thudded from the air, could barely peep that time.
But she clasped the bird once more within her dirtied fist,
and heaved him all the higher. Two thumps came—
the baby, no strength left to quiver, then the apple
that his impact had delivered to the sullied earth.
When the girl next took the bird into her hand,
the cooling flesh about his tiny wings and belly
held no flex— the girl knelt beside the forest,
stuffed the bird into the ivy undergrowth and laid a leaf
across his face to shield his awful eyes, or perhaps to shield
the truth, now incubating in her gut.

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