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Filthy Savior

  Look at this storm, the idiot,
pouring its heart out here, of all places,
an industrial suburb on a Sunday, 
soaking nothing but cinder-block
and parking lots,

 wasting its breath on smokeless 
smoke-stacks, not even a trash can 
to send rumbling through the streets.
And that lightning bolt, forking itself to death, to hit nothing — what a waste.
What if I hadn’t been here, lost too, four in the morning, driving around in a jean-shirt over my night-gown, reciting Baudelaire aloud — like an idiot ¬— unable to sleep, scared to death by my longing for it, death, so early in the morning, driving until the longing runs on empty? The windshield wipers can’t keep up with this deluge, and I almost run over it, a flapping white thing in the middle of the street.
I step out, it’s a gull, one leg caught in a red plastic net snared around its neck.
I throw my shirt over the shrieking thing, take it back to the car, search my bag for something, anything, find a nail file, start sawing at the net.
The gull is huge, filthy, it shits on my shirt, pecks at me — idiot, I’m trying to save you.
I slip a sleeve over its head, hold it down with one hand, saw, cut, pull with the other, free the leg, the neck, wrap the gull again, hold it against me, fighting for its life, its crazed heart beats against mine.
I put my package on the hood, open the shirt, and there it goes, letting the wind push it, suck it into a cloud; then it’s gone — like some vague, inhuman longing — as the rain lifts, and the suburbs emerge in dirty white light.

Poem by Laure-Anne Bosselaar
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