Beyond Bruegel’s Shore

Somewhere in Nicaragua or Guatemala,
it doesn’t matter, his wings ache
from so much wax, so much discord 
in his father’s voice, how once 
he fled the wards of the state
through air & sky; so simple
and so exact he fell from the clouds,
yet no one cared; not the hospitals,
not the impoverished nor the imprisoned.
For years, his body entrapped
in confinement branching the dreadful 
diagrams of his nerves. And yet
he has begun a new life,
one of labor, of wife & child, 
his house asleep by the shore, a few
cattle battering the fattening ground.
But something has begun to crack,
that dizzy spell of mist, that depth
sweeping over him, blaring in the dark
that thick rough side of the sea. 
This time he set up his gear 
because he had to, because he had 
no choice but to curse the coming waters.
This time he swooped so low
he could finger the waves, dropped so low
the foam soaked his hull of feathers. 
It's just as well, he banished 
it all to the barn. The plowing goes on,
but today in Central America, it does matter, 
another boy fell from the sky, chicken fluff & all, 
body tangled, indeed body tangled.
And there was no one around.

Copyright © 2017 William Archila. Used with permission of the author. “Beyond Bruegel’s Shore” originally appeared in Prairie Schooner, Winter, 2017.