It is the tyrant’s custom to wear the sun under his wings,
to show the sun when challenged
in the pulse of aerial
display. His tail cuts,
not as the state cut the route
through the forest between the city and dam
but as space cut and come together
without a seam,
the kind of cut that heals
itself without a scar,
absolute rule which he reveals.
He sits on the road signs (for curves, for speed,
use caution please)
in his territory, his mate
lining a nest with cigarette filters
from the shoulders of the highway.
The ore in this place
has made man a king.
Like law, like ore, a sun
fits under the flycatcher’s wings.
The child sits on the flower with his mother,
finger in his mouth,
suspended in quiet water, insistent
water where there never should have been a city,
a lotus pillar,
a crown, city underwater,
The flower anchors underwater
with a root as big as the mother’s arm
and so the child becomes a god, his eyes
the flowers, the right
the sun, the left removed,
replaced with the moon,
The mother anchors the child to the ground
underwater, a continent
the largest flower
and all its names, water chinquapin,
The water, bear oil, moves slow
where the city never should have been,
now a bend, a field, floodplain again,
the flowers with more than twenty petals.
She grinds their seeds to flour.
The child, his finger in his mouth, sits
with his mother, all eyes from ground to flower
where a city ends.
Angie Macri is the author of Underwater Panther, winner the Cowles Poetry Book Prize (Southeast Missouri State University), and Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past (Finishing Line Press). Her recent work appears in Cincinnati Review, Louisiana Literature, and Waccamaw. An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she lives in Hot Springs.