Devotion: Hawk

What is this thing I must sing to?

I stand up, sit

Down, then

Stand again.

My mind a fan blade pivoting

In patches in sunlight

And wind,

Scent of peony.

I wait for the bird half

Of my body

To reveal itself,

That sliver of food I carry

In my heart to feed the dead.

As if their leaving

Might finally mean something.

As if that bluebird

Coming down

Out of the pine

Might finally stall

At the feeder’s edge.

One cloud inlaid on the river

Like polished marble.

Light fraying to fading


Between the trees.

If one eye must quit its listening

And release its silver,

Then that wren is still there

On the lawn

Lashed down by ropes

And strings of wind,

Quietly feeding.

On the way out when I walked

To some arbitrary vantage,

A spot in the yard;

On the way back

(When I leaned down

And touched a poppy)

To the same.

Wet and tufted, unwounded.

I have taken for granted too long

The tongue’s relationship

To the lip,

So long

A saint might be teased

Out of it.

A mirror carried from darkness.

Then tremble, then seed.

Then then.

Time leaping forward just

For the thrill of it.

Logic like crystallized gypsum.

We sit:  the morning and I.

Consciousness:  our sleeve of honey.

Glass heart, glass eye, glass

Tongue, glass spine.

I can’t tell—

Of Buddha’s two deaths—

Which to prefer—

The one with poison

And a rush of blood

Or the one tamed

With willingness and grace.

Daylight sharpens

Its immaculate knife.

How does a bird know

It’s been lifted?

How know we have cheated sweetness

(And/or death)

Out of muscle and burning spoke?

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