Realpolitik, January Morning by James Owens

The woods are beaten jagged. 
Wind snapped saplings
at mid-trunk—hundreds,
as thick as my thigh—and 
flung them. An out-of-season 
thunderstorm, and the road
to the dam gleams in the dove-
and-pearl, born-again morning,
broken wood polished 
by breaking, as if belief 
were an easy matter of the will.
Ahead, a meeting of realists —
a turkey buzzard, tented 
over a flattened skunk, 
shrugs into the purified air 
at my approach, talons 
swinging a red length of gut 
that the skunk no longer needs.

James Owens's most recent book of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems and stories have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Kestrel, Southword, and The Honest Ulsterman, among others. Originally from Southwest Virginia, he worked on newspapers in the region, before earning an MFA at the University of Alabama. He now lives in Indiana and northern Ontario.

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