Monday, August 28, 2017

Resa Mestel


I do consider the Great Auk, mesmerized by Aurora Borealis,
how she conjures for me as I ride underground to The American
Museum of Natural History to witness her chubby taxidermy, flightless,

penguin-like bird, contemplate her demise. Our fashionable carelessness
begs feathers for hats and blankets, oil for our light and warmth, her tasty
meat salted and cured in ships barrels.

We risk transformation in her presence. She was thought to plague sailors
with ill wind and malevolence—primordial sea witch. I am under a spell,
smell a potion of her black and white defenseless beauty, follow

her valiant waddles on an island breeding ground. She is the pilot of an egg unique
to a parent’s gaze whose cracked shell and yolk crunch and ooze across a shoreline
playground and soil the sole of a man’s boot. She is fearless of the humanity who

strangled her and her mate on a rocky Icelandic ledge. I wanted to know the color
of the hatchling's eyes in the black and white pool of blood. All I heard were gurgles
and hoarse screams in the echo of the museum hall.

Resa reads "The Last Pair 1844":

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Resa confesses: "I was inspired by the history of the crimes against the auk which led to the discovery of Ogden Nash's "A Caution to Everybody." I wrongly assumed the museum would have a stuffed mount and a prominent display detailing its extinction, but the specimen is in a warehouse."

RESA MESTEL is a poet, weaver, community-based volunteer and Family Nurse Practitioner living in Ossining, NY. She has studied poetry at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Poets House, The Hudson Valley Writers' Center and Cornell University. Her poems have appeared in or been accepted by New Verse News, The Yellow Chair Review, The Westchester Review, and Poetica Magazine's Mizmor L'David Anthology.

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