The Iowa Review

The Loneliest Bird


Forced by a fatal contagion, akomatamow­eni, to wake early and drive forty miles round-trip for family necessitie­s, the nightdrivi­ng clip-ons are attached and shemagh is coiled to neck. In a WWII desert half-track that was jump-started at fifteen below zero, we trundle over the hinterland before sunrise. Verily, upon returning and with PC scrolling online news, Atom, herbal supplement, doesn’t placate the world. Because Natalie

Wood has yet to sip an aperitif called Eternal Rest. After reading about the loneliest bird in the world dying, I shudder internally for the rest of the day. This survivalis­t quest will be repeated before my third age-related surgery Tuesday. Yes, Man and Nature aren’t foes, but when the sick also seek the same food and detergent, the vortex is no longer endemic. It’s therefore imperative to take a family portrait today. Me, a pensive bullfrog, the third-oldest elder of Kisko Creek, sitting beside Turning Eagle Wing’s Glint, my companion, in her applique dress, with Kind Bear, our son, standing behind us, in his beaded dance regalia and speckled feathers.

As a poet in Sunday’s best, an Osage-style otter turban with silver medallions will serve as a crown. Through these thick, dark sunglasses, my eyes will also convey all that’s been achieved: a history of literary mediocrity, with a PS, in bold font, that I remain bilingual and therefore steadfast, a fabulous testament against colonialis­m—then and now.

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