(after "The Feathered Cloud," Armando Valero)

Before the change came a moment
of intense attention. The dark

had not yet fallen. The horizon
still glowed blue and gold;

stalks of grass had not yet
been hewn to stubble. Looking

around, I could still gain
the sense of prelude and chapter,

a faint moon hovering like a cloudy
coin over an insinuation of water.

I thought, foolishly, one needed
only to observe certain types

of decorum. Straight spine; eyes
clear, not yet milky with doubt

and distortion. Fingers imbued
with a sense of intention.

So let me tell you: when the air
thrashes with wings and your inner

ear fills with whispers, listen
before they too vanish in silence.

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