Four Poems: Janette Schafer

Wonderfully dark visions. Glad to see that we share space in the Nasty Women & Bad Hombres anthology.

New Ink Review

Elegy for the Great Auk

Do not give yourselves the trouble
of killing them.  Pluck the best
feathers, turn it adrift half-naked,
skin torn off, to perish at its own leisure.

There is not wood on this island.
Their bodies, being oily,
soon produce a flame.

There was no help at the end. Even the
Museums gave them up, collected the Great Auk
to display skins separated from the carcass.

On Geirfuglasker, the final pair
huddled over a nest before being strangled,
their last egg smashed beneath a boot,
turning the dead birds into gold.

It walked like a man…I caught it
close to the edge—a precipice
many fathoms deep.  I took him by
the neck—he flapped his wings.

He made no cry—I strangled him.

(Poem incorporates paraphrased quotes by Aaron Thomas of HMS Boston from 1794 and Sigurour Isleifsson, who was the killer of the last great auk in 1830.)

Letter to Scarecrow

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