Swallows – John Muro

 

Easy to envy

their erratic

exuberance

ascending with

scythe-like wings

in fevered flight,

rounding rooftops

and the crowns

of trees before

returning like

blind oracles

with a divine

purpose and

grim prophecies

to share. Their

delirious arrivals

and farewells

blend then blur

into fleur-de-lis

pivots and pirouettes,

chevron tails split

apart like lengthy

shears slicing through

charmed circles of

air moments before

their tiny throats

of glossy indigo

morph into embers

as daylight falls

upon the tongues

of tides just catching

the last wink of sun.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Taxonomy – Caitlin Johnson

 

Domain: Eukaryota

It’s not just the nucleus:

it’s the membrane-envelope

keeping us from oozing out;

it’s the matriarchal mitochondria

tracing us back before even Eve.

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Sometimes we forget

that we are animals, too-

we love to expunge

the evidence.

 

Phylum: Chordata

Musculature is not enough.

We need to grow a fucking backbone,

prove ourselves capable of contortions.

 

Class: Mammalia

We reject the reptilian brain.

We reject the scaled skin.

We reject the gills.

 

We demand the milk.

 

Order: Primates

Little fingers, little tails.

Eyes that seem to know.

& we hide in the trees.

 

Family: Hominidae

& what is so great

about the Great Apes?

The bonobos, the gorillas, the chimpanzees – sure.

But then comes the fourth.

 

Genus: Homo

Struggling to become upright/upstanding/upheavers.

Striding into the scrum.

Leaving antiquity, entering the man-made universe.

 

Species: H. sapiens

It’s not enough to conquer.

We must humiliate, as well:

subjugate, colonize, destroy.

The natural world?

No. The human one.

 

cj-bio-picCaitlin Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in Carcinogenic Poetry, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Narrative Northeast, Pembroke Magazine, Vagina: The Zine, and Wild Quarterly, among other outlets. A chapbook, Boomerang Girl, was published in 2015 by Tiger’s Eye Press, and a full-length collection, Gods in the Wilderness, was published in 2016 by Pink.Girl.Ink. Press.