The Winter Wings of Gulls—a Sestina in Progress: Day 5, Stanzas 1-5

This sestina serial is fun, but I’ll still be some glad to see the arse of it tomorrow or the next day.

The Winter Wings of Gulls

When their wings of winter begin to drift, pile up,
turn the sky and the salt marshes’ blue pools white,
when their cries ache like late-January mornings deep
in joints, seep as north winds do through old cracks
to settle into bone, I can’t admire how gulls turn
overhead, disconsolate, impatient, hungry all the time—

it’s the same ache that fastens all of us to time,
that stretches taut through our days, pulls us up
out of our beds in the night to pace, and turn
to sit stiff upright at screens with fingers white-
knuckled at keyboards while age’s incipient cracks
slowly chasm in our skin to sink our beauty deep.

When night comes you think gulls hide their deep
longing? Think they go silent under stars ticking time
away in photons as each core grows heavier, cracks
under its own mass, implodes to singularity or blows up
in scatters of gases and dust? Gulls code cries to white
light that spirals away with the stars as they turn.

Lay with me under the ticking stars. Let’s try to turn
each other liquid, to grow languid and laugh deep
into the night. But we’ll fade towards sleep, dim white
apparitions; our thoughts nebulous, dusty with time
that settles like grit in our neurons and jams us up
with memories pitted by age, striated with cracks.

The gulls don’t care about winter frost’s snaps and cracks
built into their bones and wings, or how each October turn
over the harbour brings the water closer to icing up.
They don’t care how far apart photons drift in the deep
spaces between stars where the tick tick of time
almost drowns in the hiss of hydrogen’s static white.

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
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One Response to The Winter Wings of Gulls—a Sestina in Progress: Day 5, Stanzas 1-5

  1. Pingback: The Winter Wings of Gulls—a Sestina in Progress: Day 6, Stanzas 1-7 | Mumbling Jack

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