Glen Wilson


I look out into the darkness one way
and my colleague looks out the other,
watching for poachers, drawn by the heat
of their desire, the siren horn
of this northern white rhino.

He has no idea he is a male endling, 
a juddering line to charge into
a crash of white. He eats last meals
with arthritic grace, no performance
just final acts for watchtowers, fences.

Drones zip overhead, mutated mosquitos,
a signal sobs from the keratin embedded
transmitter, just one more thing done to him,
from capture to the circus to conservation,
he has been denuded of all agency.

His grunts could be his kind’s sweetest song
and we’ll have nothing to compare it to, 
as Masked Weavers fly and leave their hymns
to float down to our ears through the morning,
his croon directly to the dust.

Tomorrow breaks in to become today
and he is on his feet for it, that thick hide,
boulder in sunlight, shivering
between being strong for another verse
or surrendering to the coda of the Kenyan soil.

Manatees and Vanities

they have a 
happy consumption
and we feed it,

more perhaps 
than nature ever did,
pleasure bloats;

the taste of brine,
and sheen of crushed scales,
the spitting out

of tangled bones
in mangled shapes
skin that would not tear,

a weight 
that charmed 
the sea.

Cryptic Woodwhites on the Carrickblacker Road

They make a music that only they hear,
invisible fiddles keen, their limbs the bows,

nature accompanies and orchestrates
and scalps no tickets for the show.

Their opalescent shapes cast shadows on nettles,
love does not settle the nerves, it sets off antennae, 

thin vanguards that scout ahead, harvesting 
enough risk to feel and fill instinct,

if your heart and body is fragile enough
a breeze carries all the impact of a storm,

so finish what you start, tear the veil if asked,
task the limits of your many winged form.

Glen Wilson is a multi-award winning Poet from Portadown. He won the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing  in 2017, the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award in 2018 and The Trim Poetry competition in 2019. His poetry collection An Experience on the Tongue is out now with Doire Press.

Twitter @glenhswilson

Flights. Issue Two, September 2021