The big wing is fluttering over the other,
beak nuzzling its chest feathers.
The other’s big too. The bird’s a goner
but no wing ever works long
without a cleanup. You could guess what
was coming? Guess again. It was going
away. Little dot in the far sky, with rain
soaking feathers, making flying harder.
Someone came up and asked for a shovel.
Said there was a dead one behind here,
start the engine, it’s been here a while,
smells worse than death, got to get out
to keep my cookies, let me have a drink
to wash what it was all the way out . . .
there’s a flash of lightning in the night
sky, no moon, clouds swallowed up sky
already. Out to sea, there was an island
where the siblings met and played house
as though they were the mother, father,
and all the grains of sand along the beach
were children coming home to see death
in the face, and woke of a morning a city
under their weight, love like a north star,
the little soul a light, its little wing away,
circling, dying, being, you know how I
got here, shining my eyes, rubbing words
to set, seeing what I could, never on time
and not too late, the life being what it is,
a ridge along the crest slippery as grass
that never has grown here, the place is
cursed, the view a long way off, out there.
Moor the boat, shut the door, come on in.
(1 January 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander