Monday, April 6, 2015

Kelley White- Two Poems

That forest of gray matter fills the bowl of my brain. On windy days I try to climb my crackling neurons. That sugar buzz on my tongue, those tingling neon lights in your yellow eyes. Did you know the great birder worked from dead specimens? There are at least two towns named for him. I’ve been to the one in Pennsylvania, walked in those woods, how many years ago was it? After the divorce I think, with one, or maybe two children, or maybe I was still single--oh, my white matters shot all to hell.
He killed them with fine shot. Then used wires to prop them in a ‘natural’ position, unlike the common ornithologists of his day, who stuffed specimens into a rigid pose. Hoity-toity hoi polloi. Uncommon birds deserve uncommon poses. Watchers in the gallery, yessir, they grow ‘em just like that, hanging upside down from the branches in Australia. This is the  Fine Art of Extinction, the beauty of silent songbirds, I, trampling feathers into the mud of our spring.
Sparrow, you were the hawk. You’ll forget the eagle’s name but climb that shadowed mountain, para amanh√£, your birdhouse opening its doors for the little owl. The birches tapping a lullaby for the cracking eggs.
 Uwind my clock
I don’t want to be alarmed
Switch off the light
Be prepared to be disarmed
Pull up the blankets
Slip in beside me close and warm
 ‘cause a clock’s not the sun
More like your heartbeat
            In my arms

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