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In el parque central
a man shouts, voice eaten
by bird calls, horse hooves
on cobbled ground.

Last night a gringo sat
here & drank moonshine
with two Guatemalans.

Night grew from colored-
specked walls, sleek like this
clarinero: crow-bird, landed on ground
slimmed, as if stretched. Tail
tapered, head angular & beak slim.

The gringo tossed coins in the
fountain with breasts spouting
water. He stumbled home.
This was an elegant bird, plumes
smooth as oil slicks.

Someone hit the gringo – his head struck
on stone ground. Black inked
where should be trauma.

How quickly we lose ourselves.

Think, how feathers condense
to points, how night sits beneath
our eyes & houses mind sliced
between bone. What obscure
space between us.

Claro means clear. Obscuro, dark.
My mind is dark like these clarineros.


Michelle Donahue is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Iowa State where she is the managing editor of Flyway. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Redactions, Whiskey Island, Paper Darts, and others.

© 2014, Michelle Donahue

One comment on “Clarineros, by Michelle Donahue

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