Today's poem is by L.R. Berger
Crows skim over a page of snow
behind the house
as if one sentence were enough.
Shingles tier on the barn
mimicking rows of wing feathers
stained the color of that Burgundy
he passed with a late night kiss
from his mouth filling mine.
Have I already said their daily
as their inevitable disappearances?
Their day-to-day work
Our bodies are the splintered stakes
we're tied to.
Nailed over the bed
of my earliest childhood friend,
the cross was a sparrow
with stiff wings
the first time I saw it.
It was late April and the storefront
door, wide open,
a starling trapped inside one room
full of handmade dollhouses
It flew like that store was on fire,
from roof to roof, tiny kitchen to parlor,
toppling a cradle,
against a pane of glass
the owner shrieking
as I walked in
at her only customer.
I threw my green sweater
over it, carried that heartbeat
wrapped in my hands
across the threshold
where it did what I counted on,
flew off into a sycamore without us.
At Long Lake the heron was camouflaged
right there before our eyes.
Then, smack of wings, shot out,
our canoe barely rocking
We flie without wings in our dreams,
break into morning
through the bulrushes of sleep
where we find what we'll count on.
I woke to a beady-eyed titmouse
drumming at a seed between its feet,
to one day unfettered
by the small or greater sorrows
always here to choose from.
I woke to the nose-dive
dips of chickadees,
to a choire of birds,
Have I counted on them
for companionship? Yes.
And when there weren't birds
I turned to wind.
Wind, too, can turn air
from vacant space
into some live element.
Remember how gestureless
we felt on the banks of the Deleware?
No fluttering anywhere.
It was a day we couldn't account for,
the air and river breathless
even the ducks became stones on stones,
so motionless we nearly believed in it.
Our world's total avian population
was last reckoned at about 100 billion
give or take some hundreds of millions.
Do you wonder what makes us count?
How many have passed overhead
casting their passing shadows over you?
9. At the crest of the hill
before the orchard,
a weathervane bent
by countless storms
back almost off its perch
copper rooster and arrow
How I woke with the word
ceaseless in my mouth.
like a bird dealt one phrase
among all others for a lifetime.
Then, counting on it.
Copyright © 2004 L.R. Berger All rights reserved
from The Unexpected Aviary
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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