W.F. Lantry, "Seed"




I lined the snowcapped rail with old seed.

Strange birds descended through the frozen air

and warmed themselves on branches robed in ice.

Their feathers, amber, ringed with dark surrounds,

held back this cold. My minor sacrifice,

that seed, was all they knew. I felt aware

through them of how the wind swept branches clear.


I watched their shadows fade and reappear,

and saw their wings spread out to the low sun.

Dreaming of other places, of small storms

passing through fenced-in forests, out of bounds

to me, remembering how woven forms

of branches wreathe those wingbeats as they spin

in time, above our own limbs, and include


within their dance the rhythm we pursued.

And if both wings and branches capture grace

but hold us half away, we can but gaze,

sightless, as one who hears a silent sound.

Delighted by its measures, we can praise

the unknown source, distant, we can embrace

the wing, the branch, the cold wind, and be freed.



W.F. Lantry's poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012)winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011), and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. He currently works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.