Bohemian Waxwings

August 24, 2008 at 6:47 pm (I Can Make Life, Poems)

It was both the tidal pull and
the waxing gibbous moon —
I could feel I was being watched by
some unseen thing by the lake
you, tiny soul-spark,
who chose me for
the sight of my childish fingers bearing
mountain ash leaves
small hands that couldn’t stop
the birds from eating the poison berries
and later, the keeper of makeshift shoebox homes
for bohemian waxwings
who would     smash     into the glass
of our living room windows
every spring


That season
had I known I would
have been a young cliché
one hand on my belly, whispering
quietly in my thoughts,
I know you’re there
Preoccupied with cherry trees
and their blossoms, soprano bird songs,
I would have worn trailing Guatemalan skirts,
tinkling bracelets clasped tight on bare ankles
My chestnut chest-length hair
would have hung in loose waves or braids
I would have gladly, anxiously carried
it all too far

I studied bloodlines, theorized
about Moldova and Neptune,
reproduced stained glass icons and
researched Teutonic customs

I wrote endless pages
and not a word in my diary


When the blood had run for thirteen days,
and the doctor treated you as casually,
I continued to cross days off my calendar
in red ink, to better see the end

and didn’t think about you


There’s a little soul in your energy
She said, and I knew it was you
It was a boy,
she said
They always come back, you know
and you are suddenly human, twelve
years old, running, running and laughing
You can’t catch me, flying away
until you are nothing but
a tiny dot on a horizon of green,
circling a tree-belt of thick pines


When I close my eyes and breathe
in the scent of cedar
there it is —
the cell memory of
that moment
struck like a match:
you, the tiny atom
little satellite
my own cluster of cells
fragment of a living thing
I couldn’t hold
were, for a time, real


I want you to see me like that again
See me as that young girl with
eyes outlined in wet black,
moist lips, nascent hope,
an open jar with hands soft as
new leaves unfolding
reaching out in season
for errant birds


1 Comment

  1. hexalyn said,

    This first one: my favorite.

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