A Flash Pan Vision

Olivia Schroder
BFA FAV 2023

The gull is a white bullet
plummeting from its perch:
a hot air pedestal.
Drawing his wings backward
clicking, sinking.

A flash pan vision
Doppler’s rings ripple
glimmering like the sun rebounding
on the ice split by our canoe.

You are that seagull
sparkling like metal scraping
in a frictional collision
or a comet’s ion tail whipping
in a fictional cataclysm.

And I attempt your orbit
the black bird traipsing
a gentle coil
Coasting the heat
like a kite, earth-bent.

I wish you’d call me a starling
so I could start counting
the speckles on my arm
like I do
the way stars glitter
on water’s surface
Or a map
from Polaris to my fingertip.

I’ll make a place in the gutter

A bed
up-side down
like my friend roosted
above the window
His night feathers cascade

I couldn’t look at him
or find it within myself
to wiggle him out of there.
But I kept him there
to keep me company

A visitor picked him to pieces
pried the rib cage open like a gift—

And what a gift it was!
Potential energy
Cliff, ledge, or perch
and the tantalizing
    urge to
—hollowed him out,
tugged him loose (or apart)
and twisted the wings,
bound by metal
petrified, mummified by the gutter
to dangle
in a chain-link fence.

A plastic bag burdened by rubber
breathing in the weeds
off the shoulder

your shoulder

A man came to retrieve him,
collect his shiny feathers in a bucket,
and take him away
I wonder which of these two
you choose to be


sky gleamer,

flicker as a wick redeems a flame.
Shoot the wind madly
compel a sound in this
quiet moment.
Bear a gust so
I can ride with you
and along your comet’s tail.

and I will show you
how to glow in the dark.

Olivia Schroder yearns for the open road.