Dead Pheasant

the bird was more fragile
than whatever part of the vehicle it hit
a posthumous revenge on the windshield
sunshine-yellow corn spilled in the snow

slit open the dappled breast
pull back the soft shroud of spattered down
to expose folds of cartilage and bone
the origami ancestor beneath the elastic, feathered skin

a wake is feasting
stuffed with buttered bread crumbs
and dried mushrooms soaked in warm red wine
to incarnadine succulent roasted flesh

in dreams of bird heaven, a crane floats over ocean,
wings beating a steady rhythm blurred by the murmur of waves
flying arrow-straight through cloud toward the horizon
where it is snowing on the mountain

©2000 F.J. Bergmann

"Dead Pheasant" appeared in Main Street Rag Vol. 9, #4, Winter 2005.

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