an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

Winter 2023-2024

Marilyn Zucker


This morning I felt the
first quiver of wing shimmering
on my back.

Scapula at jaunty angle,
with arm-above-head in heavy
abandoned sleep pose.

And then a shudder, a ripple at the bony point,
not a muscle ache
nor a randy cramp but a clear serious movement
from inside the bone itself.

Will I become an angel like those in Renaissance paintings,
bringing messages to mortals or
taking their light souls away to eternity.

I think now of Gabriel, or Michael, was it,
bringing news to Mary that she would bear
the Son of God,
announcing the news, as Simon Martini rendered it,
with embossed words, bodied words,
floating from his lips to her
reluctant ear.
She turns away thinking “O no!”
belying all future imaginings of her
in calm and
radiant holiness.

Rather, I think, I’d be a seagull
cruising salty waters for a fleshy mussel to alas
dash on a rocky beach or peck at old sandwiches
left at seaside,
where tiny bird footprints pipe the sand
with weightless cross-hatchings

Or one of those migrating birds who leaves its northern home
for the thousand-mile pilgrimage to elsewhere.
Scapulas beat regularly relentlessly rhythmically
as musclewings bring bearer
away from frosty winds to warmer clime
for sojourn
and rest.

Marilyn Zucker has taught writing at Stony Brook University and in Seattle. Following a Fulbright in Portugal, she brought a first-time course in autobiography/personal narrative to the University of Lisbon, where she opened a university-wide Writing Center. She’s published essays on Virginia Woolf, on African women writers, and creative work in a Portuguese bi-lingual literary journal.