Sarah Stone’s Sacred Kings Fisher, Sherry Mossafer Rind

Michael Diehl, NorCal Goodness


Sarah Stone’s Sacred Kings Fisher



By the time the flax-stuffed
feathered skin
landed on her desk

all the air that had lofted its feathers
into an illusion of azure blue light
refracting off the bird

had collapsed from between the barbs,
fading the back to dirty blue
and darkening the head to pine.

Did she wonder what difference lay
between the ghost before her
and the living bird across the world?

With touch light as a breeze
she arranged the corpse until
it resembled a live bird, a last possibility.

She painted a raised crest,
a bead of eye intent on prey
she imagined beyond the canvas.

She would never see this kingfisher alive
or any of the New World birds she painted,
only the remnants from which she conjured

the spectrum of iridescence, as if
the bird’s feathers moved like water, like life
slipping from one being to the next.

Sherry Mossafer Rind


Review by Massimo Fantuzzi

Preservation/conservation/restoration: big buzzwords in today’s world in its constantly changing rules of engagement. As we are caught drawing the past and engaging with the extinct, we examine the strategies we implement to save our skin from oblivion. A stuffed life, a reality in vitro, boxed in, put on ice, as if. Time capsules buried in our gardens: what will come out will hardly be recognizable or useful.

Object permanence: Piaget made interesting (measurable) observations on the matter. One of the questions I think this poem poses is whether there is any point in reaching for something that is under the blanket or, like the young child, we’d better consider it gone forever and move on. What is there to find under the cover of time, of space? Not the same objects that went in. These reproductions and re-narrations are partial as they feel incomplete: we can only part of half of the story and relay only half of the original content. Any chance of authenticity? Almost none: dirty blue and pine.

Then, of course, there’s poetry, with its power to reverse the trend and change the chemical structure of whatever we want into whatever we’d like. Poetry: firmly rooted in the intersection between creation and re-creation, invention and transcription from one register into another, new birth and grief. In the same line, congrats and condolences. E: They rustle.

V: They murmur.

E: They rustle.

V: What do they say?

E: They talk about their lives.

V: To have lived is not enough for them.

E: They have to talk about it.

V: To be dead is not enough for them. (S. Beckett, Waiting for Godot)


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