While Waiting for the Bus

Under the eaves of the gas-mart—swallows
fall into the day, wheel before the headless 
grooms of the formal wear shop, angle low
as my shoes, then comet up, sheer, careless
of traffic, all that is grounded or down.
A flight of leaf-blown cursives, blue coats
over dashing white, the red-rift of dawn
painted upon their crowns and busy throats.
I must learn to keep them with me, to hold,
somehow, their accomplished joy when I’m gone
to the city where I am mostly old 
and their song, under the noise of hours, is done.
But now, auto exhaust cripples the air
as my grey somnambulant bus draws near.

Related Poems

From the Ground It Must Have Looked Like Its Wings Were Not a Part of It

I rode to Heaven on a bird that did-

n’t look like any bird I ever saw

Before I saw it    the bird’s wings    were wide

And long and brightly    colored and had no

 

Feathers but    panels    like glass    held together

By black bones criss-    crossing them from the ground

They must have looked like stained glass flying to Heaven

Church windows carrying    a black bird’s wing-

 

less body and my body up    between them

The bird’s    body was black as the night sky

Was back    when I was running with my momma

Before I wouldn’t    run no more and she

Beat me and Mrs. Davis saw and took me

Like glass    like any hard thing    would’ve broke them

 

 

 

Crown

Believe a crown of kingfishers, their spines
tuned for ascent, their belted
feathers split

with blue light that scatters
as they loose the tree—
a crown, a wound, a consequence

of birds whose blue light rattles sky,
whose feathers, strung beneath our star,
sing to bruising. Believe

a curve in the road, the climb
of its spine that sings
under a boy, standing

where an officer’s car
might come, might shatter blue light
into the trees. Believe corona

of our sun
belting its flares at twilight,
suspended: a gown, a wound, a wish.

Believe the crown of my son,
soft, unhooded—fifteen
is a crown cleaving to its own shine:

he swings an arm from the shoulder,
his hair inks shadows
over the moss—

he lifts a lighter
to the paper birch, beholds a leaf almost
to burning.

Believe that my son—his skin brown
as the sparrow’s throat, his collarbone tender
as kingfisher’s wing—

belongs to me, my absent
white body—no, belongs
to the trees

that loosed a crown of birds, a mercy:
believe my son
no ornament, no thorn—

that he should not
be loosed
from this place, that he should not

need to fly
from blue light—
a wound, a crown, a circling—

believe the trees
will keep close his body,
that he might still hold fire in his hand. 

 

Migration

I never want to get any
More new things.
I wanna wear out these shoes white
And walk on the rug till it's perfectly
Colorless
To wear the shoes dark
Walking on an abyss that's been worn out
The shoes carry me,
I can’t help it,
I fly above the desert with no name