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ISSUE:  Autumn 1994
Not dead,
but in a cold room of hurt, the bird
drinks in rapid drams of air:
Throat blushed, wings limp.

All day the robins injested
the wrong pesticide and now the
mistaken gardener wrings and wrings
his hands, trying to recover
some balm of the common animal.
And he imagines—if medicine
were inside him—it would resemble
honey, sweet, caught in sun.

Twenty birds dead and this one not,
there is so little to it, mostly
a quick strata of feather. A ring
of people anchors their sight to it
like a small maypole.
I stand there, too, and my hands grow
veiny with cold. I shiver home
and kiss whoever haunts the door.
There is mail. I open it and check for heat
lodged in the script’s dents.

Funny how letters come with an implied anchor,
as if to say “this is where I come from.”
as if to say you hold a substance, a real
matter, a cup of their blood.


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