By Jen Schalliol

Or so she says. The poem’s a lie

of green, an assurance of a clean

bill of health, a hope to carry on

and all the rest. The future bright

as speckled eggs inside a crowded

nest, no poaching crows in sight,

hoarse with hunger for your tender,

willful being. The softest skulls,

those juicy with desire. The urgency

to smile for the shot. You spread

your threadbare plumage to conceal

the fire damage, termites, rot. The thirst

within keeps you from coming clean.

Conjure, promote, you’ve rigged it

with a wire—now you see me—and

remote. Control to the last, the scene:

your pastoral, your pal, your fiction,

everlasting, blooming green.

Jen Schalliol, a Chicago native and Pushcart nominee, received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her chapbook, Means of Access, was printed through The Kenyon Review, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Salt Magazine, Landscapes, decomP, Gapers Block, RHINO, Farrago’s Wainscot, and elsewhere.