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golden falcon feather

Man hunts and struggles. Woman intrigues and dreams;
she is the mother of fantasy and of the gods.
She possesses second sight, wings that permit her to fly
toward the infinite of desire and imagination…
Gods are like men: they are born and die on a woman’s breast.

—Jules Michelet


But man, too, intrigues and dreams.
I know this to be true
because of you

because of you
feathered god, who
with one stroke of your feather

the pearls that I scattered
in gutters and sties
the pollen I blew
into angry men’s eyes
the syrup I dribbled
the platters I cracked
to uphold disingenuous

to banquets
and breakfasts in bed
with a long-lashed lover
who knows his Quiroga
while honey bees swoon
spilling marigold

and the slop yards
I ran from
with one stroke
of your feather
have reclaimed
their true nature
as houses of treasure—

and now you’re not
writing love poems.

Well, that same
feathered god whose
wingspan we share
has sent me
to tell you
the breast
you will die on
can’t find you.
She aches.

One stroke,
one stroke
is all
she will need.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Translation of J. Michelet, © E. Stirling, 2014