;

HARBINGERS by Tory Adkisson

There are kettles of vultures                           resting on the stove.            Some apple cores                        rotting in the trash. Our home’s a monastery,             kestrels hang                         from the ceiling like tiny                                        bells. You get angry                               whenever I ask too many                         questions, but my gullet              hangs open, thirsty                                    for answers.

There are kettles of vultures
                                resting on the stove.
                 Some apple cores

                                rotting in the trash.
Our home’s a monastery,
               kestrels hang

                             from the ceiling like tiny
                                                           bells. You get angry
                                              whenever I ask too many

                             questions, but my gullet
              hangs open, thirsty
                                             for answers.

                             Every day’s a black hole
              with a pinprick of swallow
-tails at its center.

                             I’m so thirsty for answers,
              when they start falling
                                             I’m sure to drown

               along with the turkeys.
  You know I’m too impatient
                to do other

                                                            -wise. I disregard
                                            every tender gesture,
                                                           every kiss & caress,

                             dancing in a pirouette
of pink flamingoes, perfectly
               en pointe & still reckless.

I don’t regret teaching
               you how to hate
                            in articulated syllables—

              when you call me a fucker,
                            I can’t help but smile
at my own voice parroted back.

                                            If it weren’t for the cudgel
                              of larks lurking in your iris, I’d
                                                          wonder if your darkness

                              were different than mine.
                 Day after day of this heart
                                               -ache & still you fly back

                                                to me, puffing up
                                 your chest, ostentatious, pea
                     -cocked & loaded. You don’t like it

                     when I burn the dinner,
        or spill the tea, when
                                      the porcelain

                                                                         of my throat’s
                                                            too clotted with leaves.
                                               You don’t like that I might

                  give away the future
    if I speak. You never want to know
                               what’s coming;

                   you never want to think
                                  about after. You’d rather
    drink the future

                    & just as soon
     forget it, whether jasmine
                     or mint, oolong

                                                or honey. Meanwhile
                                  I’m growing ever more
                                                              vestigial & ornery.

                     There’s just no saving us.
                                    The ravenous woodpeckers
       & twittering

                     sparrows watch from
      the safety of the trees. They know
                                  one day someone’s going

                                                              to shoot us down & all
                                               this noise, all this rage
                                                             we harbor, will mean nothing

      when we’re nothing
                                  but a pair of omens
                    nestled in the dirt, waiting

                                                without wings, to be savaged.

 

 

 

Issue 4 Contents                                    NEXT: Autoimmune by Micaela Mascialino

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About Tory Adkisson

Tory Adkisson
Tory Adkisson's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Colorado Review, Boston Review, Linebreak, Mid-American Review, RHINO, Best New Poets 2012, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from The Ohio State University and currently lives in Seattle, WA, where he is at work on a first manuscript of poems.