Friday, January 6, 2023

Two Poems by Wendy Rainey

Hang Gliding

I was sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office,

waiting to be called for my mammogram,

when I overheard the receptionist behind the counter:

“I had a lot of fear to deal with

before I got up there.

Lotta personal shit

holding me back.”

She lowered her voice,

“My head was shoved

so far up my ass . . .

girl, I can’t even tell you,” she chuckled.

“Look, anything can happen up there.

Your equipment could fail.

The wind could change.

You might have a crash landing.

You could break a leg.

But you gotta put it in God’s hands,

ya know what I’m sayin’?

Release your fear.

Just let that shit go.

Toodle-oo, fear,” she hollered,

kicking fear in the ass

with her Air Jordan’s.

“If you can do that

you’ve harnessed your power.

You’ve mastered your life.

And lemme tell ya,

when I’m flying

my mind soars,

my body opens.

I take to the sky 

like an eagle now.

Like a falcon.

Like a hawk.”

She spread her arms like wings,

looking over her shoulder

to see if anyone was listening.


Just then, a smiling aide opened the door,

calling my name.

“This way,” she motioned.

When I walked by eagle lady

I felt my loins gird,

my body tighten,

my mind close like a vault door.

As I waited in a small, sterile room,

I imagined the universe wiped out,

sucked into a stellar black hole.

I saw myself hang gliding in nothingness

for eternity,

the unmerciful Maker laughing 

at the joke of it all.

And me, holding on for dear life

to the secret power

of my fear.





A hawk swooped through the yard today.

Her wingspan was astonishing.

She clawed a dove

pecking at the seed I had thrown.

Piercing its neck with her talons,

she flew to the roof,

plucking the down

from its body.

I watched through binoculars

as she stripped meat from bone.

When she was finished

she abandoned the carcass.


The next day

I threw seed in the yard,

knowing that somewhere

the hawk lie in wait.

The sweet little doves descended in droves,

pecking away.

I stood behind a camera,

adjusting the focus,

setting the exposure,

when the hawk dove

with a swoosh of wings.

Talons choking,

beak ripping,

she flew away with her prey.

Its feathers falling on me

like snow.

Bio: Wendy Rainey's poetry can be found in Rusty Truck, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, and several other journals and anthologies. Her book Hollywood Church was published by Vainglory Press in 2015. She is a contributing poetry editor at Chiron Review


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