Today's poem is by Nance Van Winckel

Bid Me Be the Bird

May the lower, liquid half of the world
stop belonging to me. May it quit lapping
at my feet. I've flown a branch quite far
in my beak. I've emerged from the mine.

When I began these documents, they faced
forward: their end in the distance.
Now that distance is tilled rye fields—
a great beast with a hundred other beasts
in its belly. May what they stew on be stirred.

I've got wings is the point. The soul's central issues
are dizzying, and I am a slave to them, as they are
to the Fill-in-the-Blank, or the dot, dot, dot.

I know the way to the mouth. I flap along.
Bilious bodyguards of clouds, but none
with any clout. I pick up and put down
the stick. May the olive tree one day
regain its brotherhood of scattered limbs.

Of a dark, diluvian night, sometimes
a beast tries to flee the field.

Mouth, mouth, mouth: my light and my exit.
Steady wings steady the point. They'll set
a dynasty of meaning in motion.

Don't let the up-ahead seal its lips. Don't let
anything block the route. Good tidings. Green
sightings. I wish all of your houses well.

Copyright © 2002 Nance Van Winckel All rights reserved
from New Letters
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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