Here’s something about watching birds:
you become them.
You become the heron slim and silent,
walking on her toes.
You become the crow who just for fun
slides down a pitched roof after snow.
You become the seagull who can’t lift
her wings for the weight of the oil.
You become the robin looking over her shoulder,
hopping lightly, not taking off
until she knows you’re coming closer.
You become the hawk’s focused soar,
the vulture’s misshapen roar, the finch’s stutter,
the kestrel’s hover, the hummingbird’s all of a flutter.
When I cannot speak, you ask me what is wrong.
I am full of birds, I mutter.
I never imagined the job
atom for atom, breakthroughs
and item lists.
I imagined sitting on a
lab floor, tossing a ball
against the wall, catching flashes
of something in the periphery
but trying not to scare it,
humming back at machinery,
averting my eyes and then looking,
hearing you and being heard
until I've lost my footing.
I imagined that the knowing
would be burning.
We'd go right up to the edge
of the cliff and instead
of going over, learning.
Why are you trying to stay here?
At the bottom of my eyes is just
retina, muscle, gore.
Have you never seen the sky before?
What am I tethered to?
The tree will die
if you dig out the roots
but I’ll close my eyes
while you do
what you must.
In a moment of stress
I count the many ways to dream:
one, flying on a dragon’s back;
two, parent having heart attack;
three, dog chasing squirrel;
four, sun swallowing world;
five, duck in a witch hat;
six, her hair falls in curls.
The peaceful transition of power and I
needed a walk. We sat on the edge
of the moon with our legs dangling over,
and we looked at the Earth.
We waited in unrest, her head
on my shoulder, my hand running
up and down her arm for warmth,
waited for sun to set in the west,
for the planet to turn,
for our home to come into view.
It looked blue.
Day 298, if you can believe it
In you grows the fig tree, lush and green
and bold against the sky. The skin
around the fruit is half-hearted; open
it breaks and out spill the stars fully charted,
and there you are pointing, did you see that
falling star? And the leaves rustle as you nudge
everyone and whisper: make a wish.
And everyone does.