The Kingdom of Starlings

The Kingdom of Starlings

by Paul Ilechko


The old rusted truck with mud crusted flaps

no longer rattles down the gravel road. Pale

skinned peaches rot in a barrel, forgotten.

The ancient garden is filled with starlings,

brilliantly speckled in their winter plumage.


The bones of the old man resist temptation,

but the flesh is weak and decaying. He lies,

some distance below ground, in a cheap

pine box, no longer resinous but infiltrated

with damp and busy microbial enterprise.


His wife stares vacantly from the derelict

porch, swaying listlessly in her rocker, old

shotgun resting on her lap. She dribbles,

though only slightly, from a corner of her

mouth. She tries to remember her life.


This is rural life. Rural death, masquerading

as livelihood. Wild things return to the

overgrown, undernourished lands, the

lands now lacking in juice and vitality, sick

beneath that bespeckled murmuration.


Paul Ilechko was born in England but has lived most of his life in the USA. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat, where he spends as much time cycling as he can. Paul has had poetry published by Elderly Magazine, Ibis Head Review, the Peacock Journal, Muddy River Review, Slag Review and others.

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