It Takes A Flock

Graphite, pencils, ink, gouache, and acrylic on 36 cm x 48 cm paper. 

In dialogue with Lucille Clifton and Walter Benjamin.  In my Nuremberg, 2027 series imagining future war crimes trials. 


“It Takes A Flock”

It takes a flock to feed the monstrous child of history.
It takes a wild bird of a breast to nurse her, wings beating
the air above the smoldering ashes
the flower buds of fingers springing up as she grows
as if clasping her tiny shoulder with its dead oceans
as if the world now could hold her
as if one dead mother could nurse another’s ghost.

It takes a warming world to move the flock.
Migration on migration swarms ever more wetland
of what was once frozen shut
to all but the harshest wilds,
although the droughts are harsher
although the fires will grow
although, if they live, our grandchildren
won’t believe it possible that we—who could act—we know.

It takes a village to heat the world.
The whole organism of mankind
that would like so much to make and live—
that has wanted also always to destroy and die.
And the great world bonfire of our mistakes,
gathering like a single holocaust at the feet of the angel
whose face is turned forever to the past
as he hurtles toward the future—what of it
when the smoke of our debris rises above his head,
and the great wings fixed open in the wind
blowing violently from Paradise can hold no more?