sticks and stones

sticks and stones may break

but names will cut more deeply          

carving out whole worlds

that stain the heart’s imagining 

desert wildflowers awaiting the rains


bright painted bird

tail feathers flash in the sun

now mobbed by clouds 

dark-winged bodies not allowing

space for life’s swirling wonder


the poster boy sags

heavy on callipers and crutches

crying out for help

crying out against his fate

sowing seeds that will never bloom


damaged, broken against

life’s rosy expectation – being

whole, being normal

I suck down poor crippled me

so become poor crippled me


waves break on the beach

churning quiet sands foaming white

baby turtles headlong

dash to the ocean’s safe embrace

pitiless gulls hover screaming death

Paul Levy

published in Atlas Poetica 29

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© 2015 by Bill Albert