Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blue Bird


When I see the small, brown-backed bird,
round, white belly on the fence,

I have a sudden desire to name it.
Not robin, obviously, or jay.

But thrush? Or sparrow?
Whip-or-will?

My son says a brownbird,
like the day we take his parakeet to school.

Pre-schoolers gather round the table,
clamor close to see the cage.

My son announces, It is a blue bird,
and they nod.


Actually,
it's a parakeet I tell them,

but they are already beyond
my sphere of authority.

They are looking at a bird,
white feathers, rings of blue.

Knowing nothing of taxonomy
what they know is this:

They have never been so close to a bird.
Five or six of them circle, press

tiny hands on the table,
whisper little words of praise.


Bluebird, bluebird, bluebird.
I step out of my body

and break into feather.

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