Today's poem is by Matt Mauch

For every obvious thing, there's a three-dimensional chess set of subtextual things

that a songbird, arrived from summering north of here,
reminds me of, of

all that I've lost. The bird, like an estate sale ad
packed with so many implausibly well-kept

treasures, it's no big thing it has a heart,
can fly away when it needs to,

sings as if it's been sinkhole-swallowing
fairy-tale endings

since the dawn of story time, is blowing them stunningly
out now along the trough of a rolled wet tongue

aimed at the window I once took a photograph of lightning through.

To stop on a chain-link fence
rather than down by the lake

or among the leaves, dew-laundered
and drying out in the trees,

means the bird must be burdened by things

things with wings are seldom burdened by, most flyers
not from here content to fly on, though what beyond flying

farther south this one must augur
or prophesy or presage

(or change if it arrived
in a time machine), who can say

before the inciting act? Pistol that's not a pistol
not yet hung on the wall,

the point-of-view character who'll tell our stories hence
still conducting research

with binoculars,
hoping to get one of us in bed, pin us against a wall,

bend us over a chair or corner us in a stopped elevator
before the credits roll. Everybody

we can think of who got us here
listed (alphabetically or in order of appearance),

names going by so fast
nobody's able to read them. The garages

all along the alley enough like a canyonned city, Tuesday

enough like rehearsal space,
morning enough like an opening scene,

that the bird making a ruckus
and I are, as we all are at all beginnings: anonymous,

in windows in skyscrapers
yet to be zoomed in on,

making up aubades.

In the pre-dawn dark, in the post-dawn light,
somebody says our name, and it sounds like

our name with a decodable message
hidden in it, as with invisible ink, and the message

could be, I can clean/tap dance/sew
if you can cook/remember birthdays/tell jokes well/mow

or it could be any number of things, which is why we turn,

hoping what we heard is
exactly what we thought we did.

Copyright © 2017 Matt Mauch All rights reserved
from Bird-Brain
Trio House Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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