A Bird in the Hand

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
What guilt, to see a bird in a building
and rejoice a moment: vessel of the air
I long to breath – but caught, desperate,
lunging.           A bird is bound so firmly to place:
color, shape, and cry rooted to homeland,
its mind a compass untempted
and undeterred by the passage’s beauty.


A bird in the hand is worth, of course,
nothing, and a dead bird is no
bird at all – only plumage, carcass,
icicle bones.                 They never cease
to startle me, the redwing blackbirds
arranged along the roadside’s flooded fields,
perched on fenceposts or swinging
from reeds, calling up the scent


of my mother’s skin, her thin wrist
passing by my face as she would point –
there’s one, just as they raise their dark wings
and flair, and fly, flag for homesickness,
            window to the heart of shadow.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015