Today's poem is by Robert Gibb

A Poem Written for the Aviary
at a Time of Its Possible Closing

Fabulous as the flowers
They preen among, the floating world
In which they come to rest

High in the hold of light,
They nest upon girders or wade
Through the waters of pools

Cloud-banked with shadows.
We find them choiring in branches,
In rookeries and dovecotes

Of the upturned ark of glass.
Because he has asked me,
I lift my young son up before

The condor's enormous darkness—
Its scruffy lei of feathers,
That head like a table scrap—

And feel his bones thrill
To be dangling there, fully
Within creation, as if heaven

Among us meant just such rooms.
Bernal Díaz thought as much,
Marching more than a mile into the sky

Above the New World,
Coming upon Tenochtitlán
Whose aviaries were brimming

WIth quetzals and macaws,
The hummingbirds, small jade
Blurs sipping nectars.

When Cortés burned the birds
of paradise, their plumed flames
Drifted through the rubble

Of that sun, and the ashes
They would not be rising from,
Then or later, except as words

From this prayer spoken over water
In a place of wings
For creation's remnant flocks.

Copyright © 2004 Robert Gibb All rights reserved
from The Burning World
University of Arkansas Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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