Bird Watching

Something you know well

            you could tell about it a hundred different ways.

            Holding tight in the night

            absentminded unretained unremembered

            she says no penises

            piercing penetrating my little girl body

            so it must not have happened.

            You think for days

            about her common elusive slipping away

            something just isn’t right

            almost parallel

            leaves beginning

            to change sea-water moss moving jade

            into champagne maize, terra cotta, meadow lark

            carnal amber of cool swaying elegance

            dancing to the sound of full-bodied voices

            calling down the spine to the root

            spreading. I am drinking you in

            the fine moisture of desire

            howling quaking exhilarating

            a heart yawning open and

            if I listen careful

            stirring spirits call out

            her name

            so what if the winds will come

            come cold and bitter tasting

            deep layers of snow from darkening concealing sheathed

            skies. Whirling bone white.

            My arms round you now

            our bodies warming

            outside freezing

            death cup temperatures

            us for a time away

            from their specific strategies for the

            agony, torment, harrowing torture

            of woman and all that is woman

            unbearable to witness like we do

            constantly live through each breath

            we take in and out.  You say “Bird,

            breathe deep, curl against, breathe with me,

            and squeeze my hand as hard as it hurts, okay?”

            And I try

            to keep it coming against all odds

            in the wake

            of constant disaster, dubious change

            my fantasies flipping like a beached porpoise

            back and forth. First

            their evil blood flooding the soil

            rich with new hope, then mine

            thin with so many years of aching.

            In all this hold forth.

            We tell each other

            arms are raised high in secret clandestine ceremonies

            it’s centripetal, some wolves still run free,

            and you’re here with flying feathered creatures like me

            flinging past strong seething branches while

            deer gather in far fields together.

Holding so delicate and sacred

            your large cupped hands

            round her bruised and broken featherbones

            because hunted deer have to leap clear

            and to attend to her

            you have to be in the right place

            at the right time

            with all things wild and dear


                         ©  Susan Lynn Gesmer, Bird Watching, 1988

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