Flamenco at the Thirsty Bear. Jim Gunshinan

About Jim Gunshinan

 • The Artificial Heart
 • Heroes
 • Geography Lessons
 • Blue Cornflowers
 • Living by Water
 • Upon This Rock
 • The Man Dad Brought
    Home from the War
 • Physics
 • Black and White
 • Not the Mom We Were
    Used To
 • Nothing Sacred
 • Spring
 • Transformation
 • Please Straighten That Up
 • Up from Depression
 • What the Body Wants
 • Compassion
 • Commute
 • Kiss Me
 • Starter Castles
 • Flamenco at the Thirsty
 • A Nature Poem
 • Portrait of a Woman from
   the Gardens of Egypt in the
   First Century




The blackbird outside the Starbucks had clubbed feet
toes turned inward, making a ball at the end
of its spindly legs. I noticed when I stopped

for coffee and to read the paper
while my car got its three-thousand-mile
service next door. An hour later the bird was still there

waiting for a bit of my bran muffin to fall off the table.
I know that certain pollutants have an estrogenic effect
on birds and other small animals, especially in the Northeast.

The males become infertile and even take on female characteristics.
There’s a famous black-and-white photograph
of a Japanese woman, naked in a large wooden tub

holding her daughter
a victim of mercury poisoning, just above
the water. The daughter’s fingers are flexed and bent

her teeth protrude at a sharp angle from her gaping mouth
her far-off stare says she may already be in another world.
Her mother, hair wrapped in a white towel, is holding

Mestrovic's pietaher, also, with a mother’s eyes.
Ivan Mestrovic’s carved Pieta: God the Father
a weary old man, holds his dead son draped across his lap.

Lawrence Van der Post, a prisoner of the Japanese
in World War II, thought the British officers
should watch their comrades being executed

—the full arc of the sword coming down—
since the dying, and those who suffer
should have a witness.

  © Jim Gunshinan, 2013


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