One Poem by Frank Paino 14th Annual Contest in Poetry Finalist

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The Griffon Vulture’s Prayer

A 35,000-year-old flute fashioned from the radial bone of a
griffon vulture may be the world’s first musical instrument.

After I’ve lost my place
among clouds,
among muscular
let the elements
dismantle me
until all that remains
is the slim radius
of one revenant wing
burnished by sun
to brilliance
that will catch the eye
of a woman
clothed in soft hide
who gathers tinder
along a lake’s rainpitted
Let her lift it
to lips that shape only
some primal tongue.
Let her breathe into
its slender throat
until that solitary note
becomes a hymn
returned to sky.
Listen, this world wastes
nothing. Even death
can become a song.




Frank PainoFrank Paino’s third book, Obscura, was published by Orison Books in May 2020. His chapbook, Pietà, was selected by Saddiq Dzukogi as the winner of the 2023 Jacar Press Chapbook Competition and is available now from Jacar Press.

Header photo of griffon vulture by Jevgeni Fil, courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.