flight response: bird and horse

 

i

This parakeet, for example, with her indignant glare

and obsession with shining shook-foil things

 

like the coins she hurls from my window sill,

unaware of the beak of the wild,

 

its keen and brutal sharpness.

All this long day a mynah has been stalking her

 

like a noonday cop through the glass

as she wings about her inquisitive life.

 

When it storms the window

she takes off with a scallopped squawk,

 

navigating her self-made flight paths

assembled from instinct and acumen.

 

 

ii

Have you seen the bay mare leaning into the hill

with its nose in this sea of grass?

 

Once I fell from her great height

when she took fright at the wrens darting in

 

and out of the pencil strokes of reeds,

gathering her bulk back into herself

 

tense with wing-quiver, poised on the point

of ascent as her ancestors had done

 

back when horses had wings

and took flight.

 

 

 

Dirt Time

 

It might be that the sun is gaunt with winter but even so

         it has called you outside to dig in the soil.

 

And suddenly there is life where you had forgotten it,

         scurrying on six or eight legs in leaf rot.

 

What are hours and minutes?

         Most ticking creatures do not know them.

Only that dirt can be hasty or slow, that dark can be porous;

                             that light

          is an aperture opening towards what we call spring,

which treads quickly, trailing its skirt across the earth’s face.

          Earth worms proliferate in ruddy skeins,

          beetles intensify their circular resolve.

 

For want of a better word, this is dirt-time.

You plunge your hands into the world

          and let the earth move them around the clock

                    of its own unknowing.