between shadow and substance
years of fear lie behind us, cages
of pain, fungus-like dust growth,
dampness of an amphibian’s skin,
a darkening wing: but the length and
curvature of the talons were what
truly terrified. Precedents
were pulled from the stew of history.
None satisfied. Coming out of
the nowhere of a war, lost
in another language, we fiddled
with our own body parts —
an uneven fingernail, nostril hair,
a movable, subcutaneous cyst....
No safety in stasis.
We will not be missed.