Rebecca Maria Rose Gismondi

The Pelican
based on the painting “Loving Bewick” by Paula Rego

He would feed me sardines perched above me
every night before we fucked in the big white lighthouse

I never bled more than I did that summer;
his beak digging into my back as I pulled handfuls

of feathers – but I loved the thrashing of his wings
and the uneven wood beneath my arched back.
He covered me when

we finished and I could smell the oceans he had flown
over on his neck. In the morning, he would open his gull and I

climbed inside as he flew me back to the city.
He would never let me sit atop his back to see
the flush of green or the meeting of mountains. Only inside

his mouth did I belong. I wished more than anything to be
a sardine – to be dangled above others, to have their adoration
proved to me before I slid between their teeth forever.


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