A man who envies all creatures avian, even
the flightless kind, with stumpy, rudimentary
flippers where their wings would be,
wakes one morning with a black arc of feathers
welded to his spine, less a bird’s wing
than a dinosaur’s dorsal ridge.
He dreams of flight, but with this
clumsy appendage will never take to air—
not without the aid of ordinary
human transportation. The single wing
makes shopping for a shirt embarrassing.
If only he could emulate the flying squirrel,
with its appealing fur and webbed appendages,
so much easier to hide beneath a suitcoat.
Before the change, he’d always been
a man, inside the Alcatraz of human form,
affecting a feathery goatee, an affinity for high branches.
—After Metamorphosis #2, a collage by Thomas Terceira*
—Poem is from Nester’s manuscript Picture This, which is looking
for a publisher
is the author of four books of poems, including a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and three collections: A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been published widely.
She has also edited a print anthology, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! Poetic Responses to NPR & PBS Stories (Nine Toes Press, 2014), and an e-anthology of ekphrastic poetry, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees (Celebrating the Photographs of Beth Moon), which was published online in 2016 as a special edition of Poemeleon Journal.