Today's poem is by Allen C. Fischer


When a pair of cardinals chose the cab
of my neighbor's abandoned truck for their nest,
adopted the ventilation of bush and vines streaming
through two broken windows, I wondered
what they had in mind, what instinct might
have turned traffickers of air and sunflower seed
into truckers. With countryside in decline,
perhaps they sensed it was time to move on.
Or, was their choice the sign of evolution skewed, a cosmic
quirk, perhaps science fiction: cardinals as passengers—
stowaways on trains, interstate rigs, in disintergrating
cars, any vehicle that could take them south
to warm lands and easy winters. Maybe their red necks
betrayed a tropical nature underneath,
                                                          and their crests
pointed to a higher order I thought only we owned:
intellect and the promise of dreams.
That life's sweet chariot has no motor but for
the wings our minds give it; that the future
is elsewhere and without divine intervention
no bird will find it; that red mocks ignition
and is the color of incandescence.
That the bird behind the wheel of my neighbor's truck
is a phoenix in disguise and one day, not distant,
it will drive his wreck, a holy relic, out of its weight
and into a free fall becoming fire.

Copyright © 2004 Allen C. Fischer All rights reserved
from The Greensboro Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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