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St. Sebastian

Trembled by the muscle’s clustered grip
On each shaft’s head, the sprouted wood began
A bird wing’s measured beat, as if to fan
The crisp air with the lifeblood’s giddy clip,
Pulsing the measured rhythm’s rise and dip,
And flapping the awkward scaffold of the man.
It wasn’t according to the archers’ plan,
To place, symmetrically, two at each hip,
Two buried in the ribs, and the last two
Odd-angling from the shoulders. Nor could they
Deny the strange result: With each drawn breath,
The white plumed arrows, arced in just that way,
Fluttered, grotesque with grace, bearing, in death
The youth on terrible wings, too wildly true.


by Daniel Janeiro

This poem first ran in the Sep/Oct 2006 edition of Grub Street Grackle.

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