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Surrogate


Drenched in the dampness from its mother,
its feathers were flat before softening.
It slipped through a fissure
where the hens had slept. We could hear its peeps
from where it had fallen. Alone
it stood, trembling before rejection.
Father gave it to me as a new pet and I welcomed it
into the private quiet of my days.
I cradled it in my arms, breathing dirt-scent,
smoothing spindrifts of plume.

I gave it a name. Watched it grow.
Watched it peck rice out of my palm
with that animal-knowing
that consumed without injury.
It would come running when I called to it, teaching me
love with inhuman allegiance.
Young friend, the wind conveys, even the best of our loves die.
Opening my ears to the dark,
now I listen for soft-pronged footfalls
on gravel. Call out to sounds of crackling twigs.


Alexandrine Vo

American Poetry Review

July/August 2018


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