I started to dedicate it
to you, ‘my feathered friend’.
Are you? Are we friends?
I feel, I genuinely do, as if we are.
Whence this feel of kinship? As if
we two were fish-hearts caught up
in a kith-and-creel of familial ligature,
as if the whole world-boat were
a know-country for old kin
(bird-boy and ape-jay knuckling
through the undergrowth again!).
‘But as if,’ I can hear the rejoinding cries,
‘is if-and-only-if as applies.’
The morph-police are onto us, hide!
boss-embossed bullets bleed us
too true and in a bone-sickening instant
all our meta-tricks crunch phoric
beneath their see-through nightsticks.
‘What do you think you are,
indigenous?’ they pigeon us
(and you’re not even that bird!).
Ach, who gives a flying fact?
(I’d give them the bird,
were you mine to give,
but not that word, as I live.)
Look, friends or no (I speak
from a bleeding mouth and maybe
that’s the only way)
your motion, oh bird of my brow-
beating, maps me out
in topographic greeting,
now don’t laugh! Look:
the zag and tremble-flit,
controlled shudder of bones,
the riffle, the dart, hop and blur,
up you whir, touch down again
as you please, and with ease as
consummate as grift your ways
are out of mind most days, until
in a trice you track in front of my footpath
or group-wing across my eyes’ sky
and draw my blood up and out
in patterns I hadn’t guessed.
You, you, my feathered friend,
brought to gut immediacy for me
that I was on a gigantic ball winging orbital
through galactic expanses brimming
with just such dances as you
and your kind-kin exhibit ceaselessly
could we, the self-policing monkey bunch,
but trouble to fish-leap a flash
(bloody words a spilling) alongside
your kith-keel and feel with fear
the joint-not-joint akimbo.
How could I not call you friend
when you benedict me so?
(Photo by Flannery O’Kafka)