From the Watchbird Estrela
after Sleeping Boy, by Odd Nerdrum (Norway) 1992. Click here to view.
How many times, the bird wondered, gazing out to the sea of unplacatable clouds, will I have to escort this one? Already more lives than he’d been taught these mortaled energies could have. He’s had to acknowledge that lately they’d been turning around more quickly: birth, life, transition—or as they like to call it, death—here for a minute and back at it again, hungry to jump into the fray of time and space. Perhaps, he thought, his class in transitional transportation had been minus a chapter—it had been the year of that new instructor with the long bones of light cascading from his circlet of time. Come to think of it, the light in this one’s cradle is pretty similar, drenched, it seems, in a skin of light rain.
No matter, it’s part of the job—clarity or not—and so Estrela keeps watch until the clouds flatten and the shifting begins. Long ago, he accepted (not easy, by the way, even here) it’s not his to understand, just witness—and yes, it’s true, clean things up a bit. Recently, they’ve been bringing things with them although the instructions clearly state the photo of your wife, the wedding ring, the hidden box of jewels and the pile of unread books, your favorite sequined dupatta, the scrumptious deruni with the so-sweet berries, none of it will be of use here.
Oh, good, he thinks, here it comes. The stripping, the cool flat line, the boat. I can take my break now. After, of course, I remove the gun. Again.
Annaliese Jakimides’s prose and poetry have been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Her work has been broadcast on NPR and Maine Public. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, it has also been cited in national competitions, including the Acadia Prize, the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, and the Maine Literary Awards. Her essay “I Tell Henry the Plate Is Red” is included in the anthology Breaking Bread (Beacon Press, May 2022). She lives in Bangor, Maine. www.annaliesejakimides.com
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