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Why Birds Sing

ISSUE:  Autumn 1980

From what I know of their absurd
metabolism I fancy
some trill or chirp,
rumble or eructation
is inevitable.

Anyone out on a limb
or walking a wire
is liable to peep
or squawk. Anxiety
will whistle from whatever
hole’s at hand.

Suppose I see something rather
like me up an opposing tree.
The throat tightens. Hope
and fear break through

It seems appropriate
laying an egg to cluck
the shape of things to come—
or coo to mime the oval
nudging one’s breast.

From dreams of flight
I’ve come to darkness
shouting and after a plunge
gone warbling to the bottom of the pool.

If memory were not my mother,
could I keep silent in a bush
while night fell uncreating everything?

Would I stand mute
inside the rising of the day?


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