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Look at this storm, the idiot,
pouring its heart out here, of all places,
an industrial suburb on a Sunday,
soaking nothing but cinder-block
and parking lots,

wasting its breath on smokeless
smoke-stacks, not even a trash can
to send rumbling through the streets.
And that lightning bolt, forking itself
to death, to hit

nothing — what a waste.
What if I hadn’t been here, lost too,
four in the morning, driving around
in a jean-shirt over my night-gown,
reciting Baudelaire aloud —

like an idiot ¬— unable to sleep,
scared to death by my longing for it,
death, so early in the morning, driving
until the longing runs on empty?
The windshield wipers can’t

keep up with this deluge,
and I almost run over it, a flapping
white thing in the middle of the street.
I step out, it’s a gull, one leg
caught in a red plastic net

snared around its neck.
I throw my shirt over the shrieking thing,
take it back to the car, search my bag
for something, anything, find a nail file,
start sawing at the net.

The gull is huge, filthy, it shits
on my shirt, pecks at me — idiot, I’m trying
to save you. I slip a sleeve over its head,
hold it down with one hand, saw, cut,
pull with the other,

free the leg, the neck,
wrap the gull again, hold it against me,
fighting for its life, its crazed heart
beats against mine. I put my package
on the hood, open the shirt, and

there it goes, letting the wind
push it, suck it into a cloud; then it’s
gone — like some vague, inhuman
longing — as the rain lifts, and the suburbs
emerge in dirty white light.

By Laure-Anne Bosselaar