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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 9: August 2021
Prose Poems: 68 words
105 words
By Charles D. Tarlton

Two Prose Poems


#18 [Diffuse]

Night concedes its domination of the sky and, at the first hint of the sun, like an elixir poured into wine, threads of sunlight diffuse through the inky darkness, thinning it, diluting it, running it through the color wheel from black, through purplish gray, to sudden bleeding reds along the far horizon’s edge, as dawn tears its way through. Morning arrives with skies gone all pale blue.



#8 [Fish Crows]

A kind of crow habituates the shore that squawks like a gull from the top of a street light and scavenges along the beach for dead, cast-up fish and discarded sandwich wrappers. We see them in amongst the herring gulls, shiny black interlopers, hopping and pecking at mollusks and shrimps in the swash. What makes a blackbird want to be a seabird? I read somewhere that hawk-like hooks have been found on the ends of some Fish Crows’ bills, perhaps the tiniest first sign of evolution toward the osprey or Pallas’s rough sea eagle. Hippity-hoppity metamorphosis from backshore to the berm.

—Prose poems are from a forthcoming chapbook by Tarlton.

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