KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Ekphrastic Poem: 167 words

The Ostrich

by LeeAnn Pickrell

The assignment began with a trip to the zoo.
To pick an animal we would then render into clay.

I had already decided and picked the ostrich—
a family bird of sorts, for my great-great grandparents

raised ostriches in Phoenix before the First World War
when their feathers were in vogue.

I had selected the hardest bird, with its long thin neck
and legs punctuated by a flounced and feathered body.

And so my bird kept breaking apart until 
there was no starting again.

My ostrich, glazed brown from the kiln, with its 
two thick, melded-together legs and reptilian neck and head

rising up from a roughly egg-shaped middle. 
To a certain age group, the ostrich might have been mistaken 

for Dino—the Flintstone influence—
perhaps the ostrich’s early ancestor.

My mother still keeps it on her mantle, along with the hula dancer.
Both pieces display a certain similarity:

legs mashed together so they’d stand, the grooved feathers,  
grass skirt. Examples from my early period.


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