Blue from blue—sky threw you down.
You tear away, rage, swoop.
Accused: a naked hatchling eater,
though studies prove only 1% of you
are feathered cannibals of the nest.
Once, I saw your cobalt wing
in the backyard’s grass, divine debris
torn in an air-borne gladiator’s match.
Blue Lucifer, lewd mime, shrewd
enough to imitate a hawk, dog, neighbor
shrieking, No! Fuck no! You won’t be driven out
by winter. I watch you facing off
with crows, streaking over the rose bush
like a lapis missile. I want to say
what your whole body seems to say:
I have a right to what sustains me.
Game to take on naysayers, braggart
squirrels, the stalking cat. You dive-bomb
anything you fear. All flash and swagger,
my criminal of the flower bed.
On Being Asked Why I’d Write About A Thing Like That
Because he taught me mice are as deserving of this cheese as I am
Because we eat our rice with cinnamon sticks
Because her mind was strict and her heart was easy
Because I have to be pried open like a tiger trap
Because a grown man he cries in his sleep
Because we laugh so hard at the table
Because hibiscus because whisky and tea
Because a person can be doused in kerosene
Because cockroaches bob around the room like blimps
Because English tastes like chewing peppercorns
Because nostalgia can seize me with malarial shakes
Because I believe in what’s written and rewritten
Because I bury the lacy skeletons of mice
Anniversary with Birds (and You)
Bodies buzzing like a traffic jam:
a want motor, musical
pacemaker. Tick-tock. Melody
machine with bones
I can crush with my hand.
Your hands are slow. We watch
the first birds twine the air
together. Sixty feathered frames
flexed in a constellation—then,
a shift so swift we lose our breath
and have to hold each other
through the mess of song.
How a wing might shred, so thin the cartilage,
curved ribs—the body
a parenthesis around the air.
No, it isn’t air the body frames,
it’s breath. One lung-full of sky held separate
from the rest and then released—to air again.
We float and dive, no more than trinkets
spiraling miles above the valley floor.
You press your forehead against mine.
Our flight depends on separateness.
I slip from the bed, taking my lung of sky,
leave you tangled up in trilling birds and light.
I’m thinking of a columbarium. Aviary
full of color and flash, also roost
of the dead, house of ash.
Plato wrote of wanting a pigeon
and grasping a dove instead.
When you reached into the cage
of possibilities, it was me
you freed from the feathery mass, me
you cradled in the large vise
of your hand.
I stand at the sink. The highway
miles below translates itself
into a steady hum of other human presences.
How fast away, how fast home?
What has trucked the birds down from the sky?
Now that the sun is high, no sign of them,
though here and there I note a bush
that shakes with life. We’ll eat. We’ll sleep
beside each other like a couple in a single tomb.
I’ve read that birds have hollow bones,
carry the element through which they fly
inside themselves. I’ve always wanted to fly,
no cote, no branch, no coming back—
though inside my bones is flesh, marrying me
to our marrow bed.