Łčíčšeʔ

She is a wood warbler
hatched
            into madness.          She
emerged
from milky shell   earthen brown blotches
not Rorschach   not robin   but warbler.

Open-mouthed                   swallow of hard-
chipped notes, calls            smothered
inside 
            her smoke-gray chamber of throat.

Dis/appearing between branches          
muted yellow-green
            tail feathers and body dainty   clawed toes
white lines half-circle            her eyes
sense but can’t see
at the center of night     movements        
misfire
misreads the body
                                                responds on its own.

Related Poems

A Field of Finches Without Sight Still Singing

That song comes from sorrow      there is no doubt. 
    
Bullfinches   in ancient times      had eyes put out
         
so they would             sing more sweet.       Think of
           
those    black beads      dropped to earth     coming
   
to seed       flowers   turning inward    every   single
   
one of them     without    its     sight.
    
Stories say      that    moving   in the wind     they
    
made up song    as if nothing     had been lost  and
   
this   rings    long   into   the night. Every    sound
   
we hear    turns   to    a bigger one    and   each   is
   
true.   We  add   our own   until it is    the  first
   
din     ever   heard,    the  way       poetry      begins.

Roar Shack

Many see a flutterby when they look into this

omniscience I see as a skinniness too densely drawn
or a mystery unhinged by its own symmetry, a twinning
I think of as a listener that thinks along
with me, fused in a tweed, a red herring-
bone weave in the dazzling darkness
and bleached afterness some see

as a necklace of brilliants curved in gift. As if!

A color visible only in ultra-
violet light or a source beyond mathematics I think
of as a second self, an underhum. Or thought. Till I saw
innocence tortured by a force
beyond kindness, an unconditional indifference

or wick for wickedness that wanted trauma dolls.

I tell this as a clock tells time but telling can’t diminish it

as clocks can’t dwindle time. Am I still alive?
Birds that sing behind a waterfall, horses kneeling
Christmas Eve are what others see in what I see
as us delivered up to this chill that searches me.

The Woodlice

The beauty of one sister
who loved them so
she smuggled the woodlice
into her pockets & then into
the house, after a day’s work
of digging in the yard,
& after the older ones of us
had fed her & washed,
she carried them into
the bed with her, to mother
them, so that they would have
two blankets & be warm, for
this is what she knew of love,
& the beloveds emerged one
by one from their defenses, unfolding
themselves across the bed’s white sheet
like they did over 400 years ago, carried
from that other moonlight,
accidentally, or by children, into
the ship’s dark hold, slowly
adapting to the new rooms
of cloths, then fields, & we,
the elders to that sister,
we, having seen strangers
in our house before, we, being
older, being more ugly & afraid,
we began, then, to teach her the lessons
of dirt & fear.