A Bird in Hand
I’ve memorized its heart pounding into my thumb.
Breath buoys out. My fingers know how to kill,
closing on the bird’s slippery head.
I don’t remember. Was it that beak bit my chin?
Was it a claw cut my wrist? I blow feathers
away from its chest, smelling pennies and rain.
Skin like granite, a real white-blue, flecked
by knots of new growth. I found my need,
cold in cupped palms, just the way I was taught.
I return to account for whose neck falls around
backwards. Eyes that go cataract bring clouds.
That fat pearl with wings looks like water disappearing in me.
From Eye of Water by Amber Flora Thomas © 2005. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.