Tuesday, April 27, 2010

from reckless flights

New favorite bird alert. Call it the bird of the week. It'll be a thing. If I remember. Help me remember.
If you remember to.

Meet the Eastern Towhee. Endearing characteristics: 1) Tri-colored body 2) They eat off the ground beneath the feeder where the squirrel dumps copious morsels in his ravenous oblivion. 3) Downright adorable when they hop around.

On the flip side of adorableness lies ghastliness. Enter the mourning dove. Don't get me wrong. Cute as cute does, these head bobbers. Peaceful if you don't mind the hoo-ing. And I don't. Actually, I do a pretty mean impression of the dove's lachrymose song. The ghastliness I refer to is the daily sight of these creatures twisted on the back porch, dead or concussed, from reckless flights into the windows. Two or three times a day I am startled from my perch at the computer by a resounding clunk. "Another dove," I say, going to survey the damage, hoping for vital signs, trying not to think of Looney Tunes when I see the floating feathers.

Speaking of doves, here's a poem. (Ether, if you're are beginning to wonder if I have a poem for every subject known to man--be assured that I do not. However . . . ) Behold the iambic tetrameter or, if prosody ain't your thang, simply enjoy.

Ankle Deep at Dusk

The lake is mottled, calicoed

By the oil-slick ooze of poplar

And pine—the spill of shadows on

The chopped and crested surface. Doves

Regret the dark in harrowing

Contralto. Walking ankle deep

With pant legs knotted at my shins,

I relish bits of shell like glass.

You thought that I was made of stone.

But now, between my sockless feet,

By glints of rare and fractured light,

I notice features of my face

That waver in the lulls and heaves.

I smile and see me smirk. I nod

And watch me disagree. So much

For being solid. See me now.

Or better yet, remember when

We waded out, up to our necks,

And spat the penny taste of mud

Into each other’s eyes? You said

You made a wish for us to stick

Forever in the leafy muck,

Then held your breath and swam below.

The final crimson lobe of sun

Is slipping underneath the blue

Horizon. See it now. And hear

The dove’s adagio refrain.

Come up for air and look above

The trees. A cuticle moon glows

As two. One hinges on a late

Arriving cloud, the other smiles

And smirks on this spilt lake of ours.

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