Poetry Archive

The Sick Sky

Photo by Aleks Ivanov on Unsplash

The sky itches with bird bites.
A rash forms, the doctor says cirrus clouds.

The clouds are like white feathers
whose spines give off frail arms.
Like a goddess who exhausted
releases extra limbs.

The doctor says doves are disintegrating in the sky’s blue skin.

She is so mapped by nipping beaks she just
can’t stand it and she rakes herself with the forked feet
of those birds, that singing disease,

and she strokes terribly until blood-streaked she mottles
into the perfect frantic sunset.

The doctor says the sky is dreaming.

In her dream, flowers sing like water
when they leave their stems for heaven.


Leanna Petronella’s debut poetry collection, The Imaginary Age, won the 2018 Pleiades Press Editors Prize.  Her poetry appears in Beloit Poetry Journal, Third Coast, Birmingham Poetry Review, CutBank, Quarterly West, ElevenEleven, and other publications. She holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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