Monday, November 7, 2011

Bird Watching

I showed the bird in my hand
to the young woman at the other end of the hall.
I wanted to kiss her, but my tongue
could not even shape a word. Songless, I left.

Holding the bird deep in my pocket
I mumbled excuses to the boys at the door
who were off to the school dance. I fled
to my room. I learnt how a shrike crushes.

The bird sat on my shoulder
as I performed my stories, taught my class:
displayed, conducted; practiced my craft
with lightness. A beak tore at my gut.

Hiding the bird in my throat
I knelt in some kind of prayer
till the tumult subsided and I fell
to the floor. Cradled in claws, I slept.

Where was the bird when I wrote?
Caged in my heart; free in my hand.
How is it no-one sees her, though she lives
with me still? You have to sit for a long time

for a sighting.

18 September 2011

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