blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



From Underneath

When we were untouched by human voices,
we could hear music played, and we were not unlike
the selves we brought to animals
whose presences were instruments of love
almost without fail. We saw birds every day;
before we slept we often thought of how those fly
who fly at night, not the dark topfeathers
serrating another dark, but the pale
underfeathers hidden by a wing that could, and had
glanced back. Fish also kept a paleness underneath;
don't think we weren't afraid. Our stillness
was pearl-stillness; if we were radiant
it was a radiance accrued while having been contained.
We wondered why to shell is to pry out. Music was beautiful,
fathomless in a way we understood, the notes most often
falling at the end like words in sentences, pearls in water,
animals, blue sky. We understood that in the time it took
each chord to play, some of us would die. Some continued
being held; others were holding still and listening. 

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