or Paris. Or hawk or moth. Or paper or feathers or any number of ways to look at the armor of this, plumage of that. Or how a father’s disappointment seems to cloud these things; how it engages the fight, masks the retreat. How much like a coward. How the arrow flies, how it fletches, how it lands and makes its target; how it fails still. And still shields drop. How they clatter, clatter, and clatter. Useless shields. Parted greaves; dammed rivers. Such empty spaces. And once. And, again. If the boy fights, then the sword is given. If he retreats, then the switch. Fly away, boy. Fly and fly and leave nothing behind. Here’s the story left behind: a moth landed on some mother’s lap; its wings like papery bracts; costume ball eyes; the well’s masquerade. Its stain: this dust. Evidence signals the end: this story; this place. The walls painted; the walls torn down. Here, a mother made slave to her son’s cry. The sound. It does not abandon her, even years later. Even as the hawks eat whatever’s weak; whatever drifts their way. Even as the shroud gathers dirt. Even when the ear fills with the ghost of this sea, sea ghost, such blue timbre most mornings, and misses the familiar pitch. Even then.

 

MATTHEW MINICUCCI’s first full-length collection, Translation, was chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize and will be published by Kent State University Press in 2015. His work has also appeared in or is forthcoming from numerous journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2014, The Cincinnati Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, and Third Coast, among others. He currently teaches writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.