Oil Painting of a Hand Holding a Taxidermied Bluebird

Gustav Parker Hibbett

Greg Grummer Poetry Contest Runner Up, 2020

Center-right: wings invisible, pinned like buttoned
fronts of jackets around a rigid waxdrop body;
small-clawed feet fixed or glued or stapled straight,
perch-ready, pointing out the painting’s south-left
corner, down past the wrist. Human death delivered
formaldehyde stiffness, at the cost of first death’s stillness,
between some hand’s thumb and dull-white
forefinger, against the background beige, but

the show lights and the painter’s soft-edged strokes
bring the simple, broken, body back some life, leave it
glowing, almost princely. In chiaroscuro blue, gem-like,
lambent; and the golden glint of gallery lamps
returns something, not quite but almost sunlight,
to the soil-black shimmer in the single open eye.

Gustav Parker Hibbett

is a black poet and fiction writer currently pursuing his MFA in creative writing at the University of Alabama. He holds a BA in English from Stanford University, and is originally from New Mexico. His work also appears in Déraciné.


“Naxos 1” Jean Wolff, phoebe 49.2

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