False Flight by Mercedes Lawry

The calm lunatics don their winding sheets
and take to the streets to proclaim
the inevitable, to sing requiems
with tender fervor, to sweep their brooms
at life’s debris, tick, tick, the dried leaves
of loss and the wayward, crippled love
and fear, both faint and staggering.

The calm lunatics with stanzas in their eyes,
apologies on tongues, fictions spooled
in their ears. They come singly and in crowds,
with circling hawks and honeybees.
Take their chances with the scarred moon.
Little wings rest on their shoulders, fallen
from god-knows-where. Those wings
lift slightly with each soft pause of wind.

Note: I came across the phrase “calm lunatics” in an essay in Mary Ruefle’s collection,
Madness, Rack and Honey.

Mercedes Lawry
MercedesLawry_optMercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Natural Bridge, and others. Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she’s published two chapbooks, most recently “Happy Darkness”. She’s also published short fiction, essays and stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.