Necessary Omens

Michael Prior


You’re accessible, she says, meaning
I bore her. If difficulty is a virtue

then we might be saints. Who was it
that once equated virtue with moderation?

Kanye West, I think. Most quotations
may be attributed to the internet, plagiarism

being just an ugly way of remembering
a beautiful thing. Once, in a city

grown from the rich mud of a river’s delta,
I watched chrysalises suspended among

magnolia branches, more spectral
than prescient of birth. I had walked

that way every day and not noticed
until a friend diverted my sight. I felt terrible,

knowing it was my duty to look up
occasionally, to keep one eye trained

on what couldn’t be controlled. Like the time
my sister let her guinea pig out of its cage

and a hawk dropped down from the clouds
and took it. The future had arrived.