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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 153 words
By Roy J. Beckemeyer


Here are the gestures
of my hands. Wear them in your hair.
—Jane Kenyon, “Year Day”
The gestures of hummingbird wings 
can be seen only by fellow nearly weightless 
creatures, their prestissimo hearts, their 
vivace wingbeats unobserved by us—slow-witted 
slaves of time’s viscous passage. Our massive 
passivity, our image-smearing optic nerves, warrant 
that we will miss the flick of primary tip, the come 
hither winding of wing path, the sudden flare 
of flattened vanes. 

To them we are forever living in slow motion—
are nothing but ridiculous stop motion Gumbies, 
Wallaces, Gromits, Lego Movie characters, 
more plastic than living tissue, beneath their notice, 
unworthy of more than a millisecond of time, 
worthy only of the same gesture Dietrich 
might have used to dismiss Jannings, 
a mere flick, a Blue Angel blur, a tick 
of an atomic clock, a gesture, a flick, 
a lick without a hint of a promise. 



Note: Epigraph is from “Year Day” by Jane Kenyon, from her collection of poems From Room to Room (Alice James Books, 1978).

Roy J. Beckemeyer’s
Issue 11, January 2022

latest poetry collection is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar Press, 2019). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by modern artists’ depictions of angels. His first book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited (with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017). His poetry has been nominated for Pushcart (2015 and 2020) and Best of the Net (2018) awards, and was selected for The Best Small Fictions 2019.

Beckemeyer serves on the editorial boards of Konza Journal and River City Poetry. A retired engineer and scientific journal editor, he is also a nature photographer who, in his spare time, researches the mechanics of insect flight and the Paleozoic insect fauna of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. He lives in Wichita, Kansas, where he and his wife recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.

Please visit author’s website for more information about his books, as well as links to interviews and readings (scroll down his About page for the link-list).

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

The Color of Blessings in MacQ (Issue 5, October 2020)

Featured Artist in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019); showcasing Beckemeyer’s poetry, prose poetry, and insect photography

Words for Snow, a prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 9, Spring 2018), which was selected for reprinting in The Best Small Fictions 2019

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