Michael Schaffner… Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile & Squatters

 
 

Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile

Osprey trailing a thin branch, treetop high,
repeating every few minutes, on schedule
to finish a nest larger than the homes
of the rootless beings I used to see
waking in the park beside my office.
 
Feral creatures, well past their breeding years
by dint of their minds or toxic habits,
they seemed no more than wary scenery.
 
Across the river the sun nestles down
in a bed of shady pines. The sky glows
like a wick just as the flame escapes it.
A slight traffic of herons, homeward bound,
changes shifts with swifts, who give way to bats.
 
I’ve not returned to Franklin Square at dawn
nor seen the sunset there for several years,
nor think that species even values tears.
 
 

Squatters

While running I saw two vultures landing
atop a new house to escape the crows’
harmless yet irritating attentions.
 
A girl at the bus stop noticed them, too,
but I could not presume an acquaintance
based on black vultures, handsome though they be.
 
And they were: black scalps and iron hooked beaks,
above not only crows but even us
as they paced down a million dollar roof
 
as if they owned it, as in fact they own
everything their talons touch or shadow.
I passed around the block. The girl had gone
 
and the great wings spread broadly on the draft
from the near apartments, patches glowing.
 

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former People, Raintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.

Copyright © 2016 by Michael Schaffner

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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M.A. Schaffner… Antocracy

 

Antocracy

Nothing upon the grasshopper’s back more
than the resentment of ants, their taxes
ever squeezing out empathy for others
who earned their pensions the old fashioned way
chewing leaves all summer while the scouts crept
slowly back to the city, laboring
like scarabs under their burdens of dung,
all for the drones and the queen’s monopoly
on breeding and leisure. It’s not enough
to suffer such a dull career, you must
blame those who have the freedom of the fields
as if they were the ones who made you ants,
and the queen were some wise benefactress
giving you a job and proxy future.
You have no future, and no options now
if you believe you really need a queen.

 

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

Copyright © 2016 by M. A. Schaffner