poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Blue-Green Bird


When a sparrow perches on the balcony and seems to be a message from a country you did not love when you were in it as you love it now that it is in you.
-Mahmoud Darwish

When I was a girl there was a bird family
that built a life together in the hanging plant
hooked to the side of the front door. My mother said it was good luck
to have birds, but when the mallard and his mistress
came to make a world of it in our swimming pool, she called animal control.

I whisper secret blue-green words into my pillow
I let each word taste like a Provençal olive with thyme.
I let that taste linger in the sides of my mouth when I am dreaming of bread.
I am a young poet. Young enough to believe
that birds and souls are basically the same thing,
and that if I were a dog I'd be a Newfoundland,
and I try to remember that this universe is just one of many.
Don't be afraid of the chaos, taste it, I tell myself,
when scientists say it tastes of raspberries and rum.
Dear Chaos, yes, I dream about you. Running dreams
where you are chewy like calamari, all tubes and tentacles and terror.

It's not song that makes me think of birds and of the soul,
it's the way they both build from nothing, starting with air.
Air is the main issue in their life of flight.
I woke up feeling like my drunk, hot fever had broken.
Birds build from nothing; a twig, a piece of dryer lint, a mouthful of string,
and they know the knot
to keep it all together, to make a bowl to hatch and grow.
In the world of wings, when the mother returns
to the nest, she brings back a small part of a grey worm for each snap.
Food is to bowl as bird is to air. As bird is to soul. Food is to air. Chaos,
I will not wake up cool and write a poem about you again.