Migratory Patterns

I said a prayer for the bird I killed
and laid him among the rockpile
upon which your letters already blazed

some season I was larger than ever
my body expanding raw marks on hips
like imprints your fingers left behind

the newspapers said it was an odd migration
some stayed behind I waited up all hours
with books listening to rooks die slow

some mornings the eaves held corpses
why not fly why the stoic intent on remaining
when the hoarfrost spokes alone can kill

the bed empty when I awake the tea cold
moments after it has boiled I find letters
in your hand written to another man

some crook I know all about and yet
I know nothing but the shock of a body
pelting against the glass seeking shelter

the newspapers said it was all our fault
we had usurped their nesting grounds
we had ruined their age-old flying patterns

sometimes I see a V in the dark above
as you pinion me to the bed beneath you
what was augury when the birds read poetry

there was nothing I could read that season
while I waited for you and for the birds
to die or to finally follow the others elsewhere

some sleepless morning alone I drive
down a dark road before sunrise the field
is littered with black feathers white irises wide

I scarcely see it before I’ve smashed into it
the dead weight nothing I haven’t known
but its blood on the windscreen shreds me

some hours later you return the bird
and the letters and the poems on the coffee table
I let the scene say it all for me as we sway

several stray birds screech on the rooftop
I gather the stones in my pocket my tongue
mouthing a prayer for what I have killed

some of us stayed behind but only some survived
when the fire catches I see the field darken
and I speak aloud the words you wrote

in a lapsed hand I blame for many deaths
the newspapers say the season is nearly over
they do not say anything more about the birds

they do not say what we will do when the frost returns

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