Aviary

by annmarieelliott

the bird was no bigger than her fist, and dreadful.
she dreamed it would swallow her hole, there hollow

bird neck protruding, bones crippled for flight. swallow
her music, too, humming her from its belly smoothed

pink from emptiness. fall’s last explorer took on icarus at sundown,
and she would weigh it down, learn the art of disappearing – but veiled

she could not answer. could not but here begged
to wrap his feet, wipe blood from the wire, string,

but here by phoresy dance Israel’s mites, leap
to remove the veil and reveal flecks of filth, spit.

it would love her, too. drink her to death for it. the faith
of her mother would do everything for it from the inside.

fall’s last explorer took on icarus at sundown
to fly into the moon had she not, no, had she so

but opened a window. were it not, no, where she’d-
she’d heard for the first of winter the tapping sill,

his feathers cloistered in her eccentric’s head- had the bird
not built his nest there, in the mouth, of spittle and sticks,

had the oil not cracked at the edges of lips, silver platter
not staring, not preaching, absent of want, if this were not

but here, her prophet, her veils, she would have let it free.

15 December 2011

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