Come, sit with me in the dunes,
chew on some pickleweed, and watch the bird boy –
small-boned, soft-breasted, wheeling
in the spindrift. A boy who hatched in blue half-light,
out of the seeming-nowhere, from an egg as round and perfect
as every night that doesn’t leave you wanting.
Look, his feet are scorched
from hopping down the boardwalk at noon.
This boy will not mind if we dream up his story --
he has long been doing the same. Can you imagine it?
Alone, the boy suffered the lonesome growing
of pin feathers, the new cracks in his gull-cry.
No longer content shattering
periwinkle shells against stone, he left the nest
in search of rubies. So far it’s all been
bottlecaps, rose-colored sea glass. Who knows
when he’ll stop circling? All day, bird boy
keeps watch on the wave-break,
and on his brothers, screaming at tourists
for their sandy potato chips.
From this rocky shore, he seems to have
something shiny in his beak. Maybe the pull tab
from a can of Orange Crush, but let’s say
it’s a moonstone.
The Minotaur loves Halloween, the one time of year his horns and shaggy haunches
make sense. He gets hired seasonally to scare children at the center of a hay bale maze.
It’s much more fun than his regular gig, and since he stopped bellowing so much,
the parents hardly ever get upset anymore. The air smells like bonfire and possibility.
He sips his complimentary hot cider and waits. Sometimes the kids take pictures with him
after the hay ride and the haunted house. They ask him where he got his costume
and he just laughs. Walks home through a field of warty pumpkins. Home right now
is the Moonbeam Motel, where fake palm trees fringe the leaf-littered pool. He wakes
to continental breakfast, stale coffee, all the trappings of another precious day aboveground.
Milo Gallagher's poems appear or will soon appear in The Kenyon Review, The Grief Diaries, The Fem, Crab Fat Magazine, Potluck Magazine, and Anomaly. He is an MFA candidate at Mills College. You can follow him on twitter @miloemilyg.