Twilight. Anna is talking with her
hands, stitching the spaces from one word
to the next. Searching for English, she discards
first the Polish, then Russian and German.
Light within the screened cabana, the same
color as the evening. A hummingbird strays
inside through the tied-back drape, as if
onto a stage. It struggles against the net,
beak needling through the mesh, wings a blur.
Confusion’s a failure to comprehend, like you
struggling against the bonds of the body,
its blue and yellowed caverns. Rest and whir.
Rest and whir. Respirator.
I can’t watch anymore, unzip the mesh to widen
the opening, stand holding it and wait. The bird
flies up to grasp the aluminum framework
at the top of the cabana. A moment—two pass.
How do you say—when a bird, you know, flies from
the cage? Anna asks, then, ah, yes. Release—
Rested, the bird dives, swoops out the opening.
As he rushes past, his wing brushes my cheek.
Seen in all seasons, at every time of day
and night, the fence along the driveway hugs
this eastern side of the house. Redwood left raw
to weather how it will: sometimes to russet,
to gray; sometimes to silver. Narrow lengths,
wind-worn and ridged, whose striations flow around
the smooth dark knotholes like a river
parting around islands. On that afternoon
I turned from the phone, the news of you
a blade separating me from all that had gone before.
The fence in full light, stricken knotholes
like the eyes of cattle, the silvered wood
above them like the white foreheads of Herefords,
heads angled. Their lowing ponderous, mournful.