–golden shovel after Galway Kinnell’s “Prayer”
Little bird, you thought yourself such a bright liquid force, warbling. Whatever seed you scavenged, you worked to crack its tough shell. Nothing happens
without reason, right? But what of that hometown kid, askew on the dirt? Whatever happened so his track-star heart stopped pumping? Non-native, you’re nesting in what?
A traffic light, bleeding lurid green, yellow, red, 24/7? Passers-by merely glance. Is this it? They’ve dubbed you “junk bird” at Audubon, eager for handouts & grease. Is
desire always greed? A flame-breasted robin yanks a pliant grub until it gives. Is there a way you could have flown closer to the sun? If you had a single wish, what
would it be? Beneath covert feathers, your pale down rustles with mites. When I lean to fix my sight on your beady black eye, a mirrored face gapes back. Want
is a fuel, but also grinds; some dreams crumble to dust. A mother’s hand; if only one could lift us all softly who’ve fallen, press us there into a flat swathe of sky, that
filthy glowering dun gum eraser. I could throw myself into a plate glass pane, but would anyone stop? A gob, a bloodied tuft, a jagged bone, a gust of breath, only that.