the edge of a circle, split into the raked sky a seam
I thought I saw, and given the right atmosphere,
would travel through. Do I believe?
The sky was widened slightly, as it widens
at the tip of threatened churches,
and the spire rises higher
so the deity is nearer, so can be a better listener,
there where language speaks in…forgetfulness?
Forgiveness? A language of insistence, of distance,
to match the kind of language the dove cooed as it flew
its zoology of feathers
and the pressure, like foreboding,
of its quills against a sky. My eye’s insistence on it.
When the dove flew the arc overhead,
it marked the edge of something,
and internally I noted its incessance on my eye.
It whistled something sparse and bright,
an increment of grieving, of the bird’s fear,
a cataract in miniature of leavings.
Because he was alone.
A flock of geese will migrate
to their applause of wings, aerodynamic union
who fly toward some hot love or to some climate,
all together. They howl barks of flight into a migratory V,
a pattern they agree upon because they know their world.
They turn away from air,
betray the air
in pleasure of their pattern,
wherein they feel the buoyancy of worth.
Unlike the single dove,
off-balance into thin air between pinfeather and earth.
The hot arc of goodbye through which it flew
its thread into a sky so unprepared,
it didn’t look to care,
it couldn’t have cared less if bird remained.
But I was watching then, to see if bird,
untumbled from the air,
might be received in tree, by tree, or limb,
welcomed by something loving there,
maybe that maple by the border there,
where any day mosquitoes will be cruel, and prick for glee
to bleed us in a metaphor for leaving the first world,
for all this silent treatment, this itch of uselessness.
At the first twitch of his flight, I caught his gray ingenious,
and in my stopping to admire,
I tried to read the richness,
to hesitate amid the language he might scratch in adoration,
to see what charm his runes would tell the sky,
to see if clouded sky would love him as he rose,
so loves us, too. So that as the bird flew
his tender body toward an incoherent blue,
I wished an answer there against the dizziness of air,
against the imperceptible, I made myself aware.
And something like a gray bird did appear, then disappear.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.