The Eaglet of Caucus

by Keith Wilson

like a dog wrestling, by the mouth,
over a lesser dog,

the little eagle plays
with this dark quiver of skin, and it sticks

to his cheeks like watermelon seeds, it runs brown
like moose tracks ice cream, will thicken
               down his chin.

and because his mother is filled more with blood than sinew
she tells him try not to breathe so deep when you eat.
his father flicking at a switch winks and says
don’t look up at him, don’t squirm, don’t look like him

when you eat, and the food is good, god bless
you can see the whole

of the nation from here, but for a moment,
and maybe never again before the sugar clears enough
to see through, the eagle knows

every bojangle of heel against the air,
this dangling fuse, black continent of liver.

an insignificant weight,
like char against toast,

the man in him
all but a wrinkled pant beneath a shackle,
little left in the lips of the titan
but diphthongs, though of course

there is nothing wrong with wanting
to eat, of course to sleep

by the fire, the stars stretching out as a river, as a body does,
as a tree.

*The Caucasian Eagle was a giant eagle sent to feed upon the liver of
Prometheus for stealing fire from heaven. Each day, Prometheus’s liver
would regenerate, and the eagle would return.