“The bird never flew on the one wing, you know*—“

And the salt never spared an inch
of the slug crawling across its glittering trail—

But the bird with the fractured wing still
troubles the air in her dreams,

and bound sheaves in the autumn field
send up gold sparks of their burning.

So the fire in the throat
is a river’s coursing,

and the moon’s blue tint
is epistle to the harvest blade.

Come closer then as if to drink,
as if to drown, as if to kiss

every surface mirrored,
throbbing, doubled in the glass.

* R.T. Smith recounts in a Richmond Times Dispatch article on Seamus Heaney: “I’ll never forget him saying, after a quick drink in a Sligo pub, “You’ll have another, so.” When I objected that I shouldn’t, as I was driving, he gave me that great joyous smile and said, ‘The bird never flew on the one wing, you know.’”

 

In response to small stone (256).

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