Rachel Custer

All Over, Dead Birds Are Falling from the Sky

cedar waxwings and I know I am still beautiful / my gracelessness
all bound up with living  the way it is / despite diamonds

raining a glittering flood into the backyard  a chunk of coal lights
the eyes of the desperate for fire what I have always claimed to be / is compressed

carbon in the perfect form  for my function / necessarily
more pleasing than any flightless wing  I am saying there is beauty

in a thing doing / exactly what it was created to do rough men
like hard drill-bits chewing slowly through the concrete

of their days / women with breasts suckled flat  their falling
resplendent  in its ordinariness / some lives are lived

entirely in falling   and will you tell me they are not something?
as if Icarus did not fall / rejoicing in the new warmth

of a truth he knew I’m a bad person
for picking up the soft bodies of dead birds I’m a good person

for telling you how they fell  sunlight singing off their iridescence
I’m a good person  for thinking about why / for instance

the coming apocalypse which if you think about it is   the beauty
of a natural thing’s natural end a brand new kind

of warmth / or a coincidence which is more likely
in its unlikeliness so we fall / more beautiful in our falling

knowing we are not meant to fly so the earth waits
beautiful in its dying / knowing it was always   made to die

About the writer:
Rachel Custer is the Poetry Editor and a reviewer and editorialist at O:JA&L. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in RattleOSU: The JournalThe American Journal of PoetryB O D Y[PANK], and The Antigonish Review. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rachel Custer is the poetry editor at O:JA&L.

Image: Julianna Series, Painting 3by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas. 19.7 x 31.5 inches. 2011. By permission.

About the artist:
Alejandro Rosemberg is an Argentine fine artist trained by Claudio Bogino in the classical style of the Italian Great Masters. He studied color under Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of New York. His works are presently being exhibited in the United States and Canada, respectively represented by Principle Gallery in Virginia and White Rock Gallery in Vancouver. Passionate about teaching the techniques he uses, he invests much time and dedication to his drawing and painting classes and workshops held in Brazil, the USA, and Argentina. Rosemberg is the O:JA&L Featured Artist for February 2019.