The branding pictures show gray
on most of my face, translucent quill
of Great White Egret stabbed

into the band of a worn black hat
among the young men – boys really,
full of it – all that tension stretched

like calves between horses and saddle
horns, turned loose to find its way.
Mostly, I forget – wing feather streaming

jauntily – an oxymoron on creaking knees
overlooked as another evolving casualty.
Like your bouquet of turkey feathers

we collected, scattered in the grass,
reunited in a living room vase after
a frantic death, each new feather

becomes a sign of surviving friction
in my mind – a prolonged life worn
with respect and envy for flight.

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