On the sense of danger or foreboding, the prickling

underneath the skin: who was it that first taught
you to always prepare for the inevitable? So much

for cautious optimism— elegy being the reason
all poems and songs, the different ways we try
to harbor what glimmers before it flutters away,

are beautiful in their brave but measured embrace of
this world. The bird with green-blue feathers bobbed
his tiny head from side to side, perched on the rim

of a tin cup half-filled with water. The small
brass bells with bits of orange ribbon still
tinkle, brushed gently by a finger. And why

do I still gasp, going under the first shock
and spray from a cold shower, or breaking
the film on the pool to try the dead-man’s-float?

Through the skeletal trees, a car engine backfires
several times; but that is not the sound of distant
shots across the water. On the first floor of

the local mall is an old watch-maker. His wall
is full of cuckoo clocks whose doors open and close
on the hour: in one of them, a child comes out with her

bag of crumbs. A girl meets her beau under a linden
tree. Then they sit, facing the sunset. Only the bird
comes back as a bird, who knows the song of time.

– for Picasso, my daughter
Julia’s conure, who will be
sorely missed

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Hot LyricPostcard from the Labyrinth →

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