Steven Sanchez – Waterfowl

Steven Sanchez


With the webbing torn
from his right foot,

his toes point
perpendicular to the ground

before each step like a dancer
aware of his body’s whole weight.

I tell myself he walks with grace,
that his foot isn’t limp

like a wrist. (I want to make him
powerful.) I will break him

a piece of this loaf
to swallow

before the rest of the geese
devour everything. I know,

though, that waterfowl
who live near man

fill themselves on bread
until they can’t eat anything else.

I tell myself I won’t kill him
with this one meal, 

that I haven’t starved his bones
of nutrients, that my offering

won’t contort his skeleton,
won’t twist his wrists backward

into an eternal game
of Mercy—

but when that happens,
some call it Angel Wing,

as if words can make pain beautiful,
as if there is salvation

for every harm I’ve done.

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