A chickadee lands in your hand,
its body a buoy
it grips your finger –
you don’t hold it. It holds you.
It is a kiss, both hard & soft,
both lip & bone.
On your way about your life,
at the mailbox, or a stop light,
your body remembers
those feathers. That touch. & others.
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
I want to blend into the tea
explode like the letter d
on the back of your bike
Ride the cays of roads
nothing liquid, nothing muted
No, give me abrupt.
The hard b of “bad” &
let me be misread.
Isn’t it the price ya gotta pay?
Let’s go out tonight
disappear, get some facts learned.
I want to hold a bird in my hand
but like water
its heart does not want to be held
boys on one side
girls on the other
we breathed in rhythm
at night to the iron lung
that held the boy on his back
whose face could only be seen
through the mirror above him
brave and afraid
we were soldiers –
our street clothes
missing, our little lives given over
to the alien tongues
of hospital staff
the polished metal
of gurneys and
pitchers of cold water
so far above our heads
we could only guess
what was outside
I never walked down to that end,
to the forgotten boy,
in that metal tube
I never looked into,
afraid of that foreign country
and what I might see there
in the mirror.
You were a tree that stood beside a grove of trees.
A redbud of branches, wide, full of flower.
Yet, when the sky closed ,
you became solemn, blameful – as if a deer
snapped a branch from you.
It’s worse than we expected
the weakness of men
results in war
so you bore yourself away
behind the bedroom door.
The day closed and darkened.
Disappeared like beauty.
I felt like a sidewalk with poems written in chalk
fading, ignored, misunderstood.
You reminded me that there will always
be someone smarter, richer, taller,
that gaze is as much a matter of distraction
as it is choice. It isn’t acknowledgment so much
as the action of holding calcite in your hand, soft,
and offering it. Offering it to the sidewalk.