Wolf EyeWolf Eye

Richard Sederstrom

Cactus Wren

I think I might have stopped
smoking sooner had it not been
for the one-legged cactus wren.

I escaped to this neighborhood
desert park to inhale a couple
of Camels, not for the solitude

in the sun, or out of it mostly,
or to watch swirls of smoke
drift off in almost no breeze.

I did not hide in the desert only
to skip out on the daily clamor
of equable survival, but to watch

the cactus wren hop, one-legged
on the spindle ghost of the other,
keeping in such nearly perfect

balance from one hidden seed
to the next that the missing leg
supported him like a genie,

like the genie inside that keeps
lungs pumping anyway and brings
us to its senses sometimes.

I’m Not Telling

I know how the peacock found its way
into the north woods. It landed here.
But that’s beside too many points.
Besides, I’m not telling—mostly me.
It’s enough that, high in that red pine
the black peacock roosts, at least until
we leave and he builds enough courage
to fly back into the deep forest.
I have heard peacocks cry in the city
in the desert, shrilly suburban.
But back there, in the distance
of dense undergrowth, when he cries
he cries. The night fills with his
distant quiet pain, a dying pain.
He is Abelard, and all else is Eloise.
I know how that is too, but I’m not
telling—anyone, certainly not me.

Richard Sederstrom lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico and in the North Woods of Minnesota. He has been a regular contributor to Big Muddy, Saint Anthony Messenger, and The Talking Stick; and has appeared in Haruah, Passager, Plainsongs, Tar Wolf Review, and The Tule Review, among others. contact


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