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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Poem: 121 words
By Robbi Nester

Dangerous Dreams

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

*Publisher’s Note:

Metamorphosis #2 (collage on paper: vintage illustrations, paint, tissue paper and colored pencil) by Thomas Terceira was featured in Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge in March 2016. A larger version of the collage may be viewed at Saatchi Art.

Robbi Nester
Issue 2, March 2020

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.

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