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The Flight

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Just seen, running, and silver-gray
along the top tube of a fence between myrtles and me,
too slinky for a bird and even at this distance
unmistakably a quadruped and
nimble, some sort of unspoiled animal, but which?
It ran as if away
from a threat, peril was everywhere,
a footsole crunches it, it is mangled
by a tire’s treads, hawk scoops it, turkey buzzard
pecks at it, no speech mitigates its pains,
even the cat fools with it, until, inedible,
it is kicked into the gutter. There she goes,
the slinky silver-gray Atalanta of reptiles
vanishes in no time, for the wind
whisks from her feet such tenuous gusts of air —
brisk now where turnpikes stretch their webs,
and not forever can an earthiness
so sweet as this propel such grace.

She’ll have got to the mantis eggs by now,
at each gulp of hatchling
she slowly blinks with satisfaction.

Source: Poetry (January 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Flight

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