My Swans

My Swans  – Milo Gallagher


I’d like to think I’m ironclad,

but each new disappointment surprises me.


I had a flock of brothers,

but they’re all swans now.


I planted some charmed beans,

but what little that grew


was stunted, and bitter.

The sugar ants are everywhere –


the countertops, my cereal,

the folds of my clothes.


I crush their tiny bodies with my thumb,

but more arrive as if poured from a jar.


They say everyone in the dream is really you –

the taxi driver, the crow, the bodiless mouth.


Sometimes I am my mother,

scrubbing the floor, or pinching clay


into bowls that hold no water.

At midnight I think I see my brothers


sailing the surface of the marsh.

Their bodies lit up from below like votives,


candles bobbing for the lost at sea.