Only the best trickster gods

have wings. Beating away at

the dried browned grass,

they knead the air and earth together

in the stone bowl of a yeasty, wet spring,

fooling us with movement and stories

that only let us see shadowy parts of things.


There are layers and layers

of air and birdsong and grass

that only a woodcock can lay claim to

strutting in that flat dinner plate of prairie.

For us, each step closer is a snap of grass,

but the only way to know it is to lie on it

and to feel it’s sharp ceramic crack underneath you.


I can stand still, feel my feet in the fragile brotherhood

of all the things in motion—

fluid wings, the unsettled earth, the ungrown grass,

a frog-chorused April dusk against

that fluttery squeak of flight,

which is not so much an awakening,

but the audible refilling of the haunted earth.


by Paul Wiegel


Paul Wiegel is a Green Bay native and now writes from his home near the upper Fox River in Wisconsin. His work is forthcoming in The English Journal, Eunoia Review, and Hermeneutic Chaos Journal. He is the 2015 winner of the John Gahagan Poetry Prize.

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