Jan/Feb 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2016 |

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

We call it risen it won’t rise. Dipping the stroke of the flywheel, the smoke.The runoff, seawater filtered through whales that is my shadow I brighten. I turn but I’m not a wheel. I’m not that guy with his mouth full of fish I got pink legsI don’t live in boring world I know decades of weaponized water I perch in trees. You have to be long-legged, long-necked and the most erect of ducks these days.Wear a black belly with a chestnut nape. A chestnut cap on your head, a white eye ring. The place I’m from is where I’ll stop going and the tourist board of my homewill not mention we come from there; they’ll send out brochures they’ll say come visit now like extinct birds they won’t always stay gone all of my riflesare freely licensed and fire nothing but luck or that’s how we perceive the world. We oblige the erasures, reality exaggerates what’s missing but it snaps back towhat it already is, an opening that’s still opening, an opening ducks fly th

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Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press). Other bird poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Spork, Fence, South Dakota Review, Denver Quarterly, Ping-Pong, and others. He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven.

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We call it risen it won’t rise. Dipping the stroke of the flywheel, the smoke.The runoff, seawater filtered through whales that is my shadow I brighten. I turn but I’m […]

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