The peppermint of wings, of neck and halt,
the swim before the storm, before the crash. 
Awake: a penguin’s suit of ink, of ice 

and blood—a blot on body white. Between 
the schools of fin, the milky bodies: meat,
a need. The size of Rome, the age of me.

Is this how we begin to die? The ice
a fight against itself, the breath is snow,
a battle lost. The penguin cage, it reeked 

of fish—the zoo was sad; the winter false. 
The blood, it stains the silver bucket. Wild
is wild as wild to me. The iceberg does

forget its name. The birds are dead and I 
do not forget the depth, the water’s edge.

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

 S A R A   R Y A N

Sara Ryan is a first-year poetry MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University and an associate editor of poetry for Passages North. Her poetry has been published in Boxcar Poetry Review, Jai-Alai Magazine, The Boiler Journal, Crab Fat Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail and various anthologies, and is also forthcoming from Storm Cellar and The Grief Diaries