The Egret; or, Perantala Kanama
Matthew Porto (Boston University, United States of America)
Plumes issue our history,
dividing the heart of humanity
from its ends;
and each a dagger with droplets
clear white, not blood-red yet,
extending a barely perceivable distance
closer to the target:
Perantala Kanama, Iphigenia
hands raised in abeyance
for life, life only;
but the king’s horses needed plumage
and coins for eyes cost little enough.
As I lay dying she
raised copper plates from the riverbed
telling a history,
feather by feather:
elephant grass invading the water,
rice patties flooded, displacement
and the near extinction of some egrets.
Mount the towers to keep watch,
it’s the listening that counts, dog-eared,
perked, a new page awaiting our return.
Matthew Porto is an MFA candidate and teaching fellow at Boston University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Scranton in 2012, he taught ESL in Tainan, Taiwan for one year and currently lives in Boston. He has privately printed two poetry collections, Flora and Fauna (Winter 2014) and Dignity Astray (Spring 2015).