Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Trakl at Sandy Hook

Over the metal lake, the sun rolls its bone,
scaring deer into trees.

Clouds drift toward the school of tears.
Branches snap like gunshots.

Breaking through windows,
wind cries at numbers chalked on blackboards.

All roads curve toward the blackest carrion,
shadows frozen on classroom floors.

Unable to go home,
a stray ghost claws a chain-link fence,

barks itself hoarse at crows
hugging their wings in a dead oak.

Snow falls like ash,
erasing the town like a misspelled word.


Once, angels shook apple trees in the farmer’s field.
Children gathered fruit for market.

In December, wise men appeared on village greens,
offering gifts to the sacred child.

Today, a mother kneels before an altar,
choking on a wafer dipped in blood.

Frost sharpens the breath
of lost children on windows.

From the church’s balcony,
she watches skaters hold up white sails,

float over ice like souls
toward a fire on the distant shore.

One face lingers. Above,
stars etch their ancient designs in the dusk  

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