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The Monkey Bird

ISSUE:  Winter 2000
In dream I say crow
and see it fly through the pines,
until, like a hurled inkwell
this bird sprawls on the window pane.

I catch the scent of conversion.
Not burnt flesh and feathers
but a sense that this crow is going places.
It’s caught, for now, in the body convened.

Gold eyes of a mutant
stare. I stare.
Winger of wind, lingering prophet of trees,
all of you set out to make impressions

on air.
But this crow is pressed on glass.
It’s lifted out of the moment,
a dreamer’s stop for the moment,

as already a woman’s arrived to stare out that window.
She’s marking the green avenues
as routes of exile or arrival.
Sister, with red shoes poised on your feet,

see what’s before your eyes.
My mouth helplessly fills with crow.
Across leagues of sleep,
I give the limitless, underwater shout

for raucousness-crushed-through-the-pines,
any prevarication for this cross-the-heart-of-blackness-
hope-to-die-and-then-see-what-happens bird.
Then it resumes the morphic shift,

face furring into our more wizened simian kin:
Dream, the short-winded approach to the heart
that once beat in us and lived for the trees.
The other side of the world,

pinned for thought and study.


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