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telemachus learns a fact about big bird

REECE THOMPSON

i slept last night in the shepherd’s cabin    consumed by the thought that big bird was meant to be on the challenger shuttle          when anyone talks about food bringing people together  i want to ask how how       the architecture of a spacecraft cannot accommodate a large yellow bird      is it ethical         do you think        to send a bird to space      what if i told you the bird lived a happy life confined to one hundred and twenty square feet with sixty of its siblings      moved daily to fresh grass          are you happy in this life you have chosen       returning each night to a home where a television icon did not explode due to poor statistical modeling     if a crisis is averted because of bureaucracy and limited cabin clearance can we still feel its loss    does the sound of that explosion keep big bird up at night as the hair burns off the suckling pig is it incorrect to say it is still breathing        have you ever skipped a meal because you couldn’t afford it      have you ever been a sister in the bathroom with her fingers      for how many of these deaths can we say you are personally      directly culpable        do you think you could kill a thing      what if i told you it was suffering        what if i told you it was cruel and hideous       what if it was once a small yellow pompon that fit almost weightless in your palm       have you ever rummaged in your pocket for a knife and pulled out instead a synthetic yellow feather       coated in rocket fuel and still burning

reece thompson is a poet living in Troy, NY. 

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