I can see them across the yard,

gaunt faces half-lit by Orion’s Belt,

the hacksaws against the window bars

sliding back and forth, like bows

of deranged fiddlers.

We, too, have been bolting

from one cell to the next, each

embedded inside the other, like hollow

dolls full of dusk and broken clocks.

Tier upon tier of coops, walkways’

clang of boots, and us under blankets,

itching to flee to a box with a higher roof,

its own sun and gold-leaf luck. A pen

of diamond walls, a yen for more yen,

softer feathers for our wings.


Peter Krumbach lives and writes in Southern California. His new collection “Degrees of Romance,” the winner of the 2022 Antivenom Poetry Award, will be published by Elixir Press in 2023. Most recent work is forthcoming from Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square Review and X-R-A-Y.


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