Ace Boggess


Arc lamp catches the awkward bend of wings
descending like a plastic tarp carried by wind:
whiteness yellowed, moving into night.

I saw nothing in your talons
clutching emptiness like a child’s cone—
tipped, mint ice cream melting on the sidewalk.

What were you after? A chipmunk faster
than flash of a retinal tear? A rabbit that swerved?
A squirrel? You were an impressive failure—

from your size, I gather, not a common description,
accustomed to quick kills of unsuspecting mice.
Yet, how wraithlike your wingbeats appeared:

apparitions observed & vanishing.
I’d have you return so I could study you.
I suspect you’re close, studying me—

a pair of eyes in ghost-light at midnight,
hunters with rifle sights targeting,
ready to bloody the field.

Ace Boggess

is the author of six books of poetry, including Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021); I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So; and The Prisoners. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.