Tengu Lament by Jennifer Ruth Jackson

Tengu Lament
Jennifer Ruth Jackson

We are not demons, us birds of ashen paint
Each flap across your sky rendering it a tender bruise

Our talons shod in flip-flops (synthetic delicacy)
Words for “fake” were once foreign to our squawking tongues
Until we landed in your fields of green corn and sugarcane

Half of us use your Internet, as cell phones buzz in bumblebee song
Screeches of our fathers neutered in forced articulation

We are not demons, us eaters of cheeseburgers
They pass through our beaks, mushy and false-hot
Replacing, though not replicating, fresh flesh-kill

Our nests upon a hillside morphed into McMansions
Cave lore of our kind dripped into brick graffiti

Quiet gods, once powerful and mysterious, all our own
Disappeared under the strobe-flash of church and temple
Gaudy statues, screaming preachers, sweaty money

We are not demons, us displaced aliens of lost belief
Though most of us (now) are telemarketers

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