Flightless

after Mary Oliver

Penguins can walk up to 75 miles
to center of the ice from the crest
Their walk is cold,
huddled into cults of each other.
Often, they rely on the pack’s forward motion
more than their own flippers.
My lover asks what I want,
as they lay their head on my shoulder,
the soft animal of their skin
pushing into my new muscle.
I am used to modifiers. I have a body
but no good name for it. I walk until my legs
ache. I’ll be a man
soon. Hair clusters into a line beneath my belly button.
My cat has learned how to control me.
I shave my face & nothing happens.
I want my body to be a question
I can answer.
Despite the failure of wings,
birds are birds.

Hatcher Grey just graduated with a fiction degree from Emory University. He likes vintage stores, big stained-glass windows and his favorite Joni Mitchell album is Court and Spark. He has published both poetry and short fiction in journals such as High Shelf Press and Prometheus Review. Hatcher lives in Atlanta with his partner and his cat Sophie.

Appears In

Issue 11

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