Tuesday, April 22, 2014

a poem by steven riel

Pigeon in Subway

I followed the popcorn
constellation but
lost the sky
hopping down.
Far-off squeals
talon my ears.
The grounded ones with turkey
legs crowd this shiny ledge.
Do they know the way out
but wait for crumbs?
I keep underfoot.
I mark their moves.
No one fakes as if
to kick me. Today
they stare down--
sad-eyed storks.
I pity them, their naked wings.
I bob along the yellow edge:
it’s no great drop,
but reeks of rat!
Can their whiskers smell me?
A huge snake with four
red eyes pops out of its
windy hole.  I flutter back
with time to spare.
Mouths split the snake’s side,
spitting out more herons
in a hurry. My adopted flock
crams inside the snake’s throat,
leaving me with time to preen
while rats grind their teeth below.

Steven Riel's first full-length collection of poetry, Fellow Odd Fellow, was published by Trio House Press in 2014. He is also the author of three chapbooks of poetry, with the most recent, Postcard from P-town, selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published in 2009 by Seven Kitchens Press.  His poems have appeared in several anthologies and in numerous periodicals, including The Minnesota Review, International Poetry Review, Evening Street Review, Christopher Street, The G.W. Review, St. Andrew’s Review, The James White Review, and The Antigonish Review.

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