blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Least Terns at Beaver Creek

Mewling called me out of daydream,
halfway between the gas pump and the steel
wall of convenience mart. Surprised sky
unfurled the flock, a tumbled bag of jacks, cards
shuffled by an errant wind and let go. The black
wedge of wingtip, flipped against the white
beneath, creates a stripe against which words
may be concealed. One such word is history,
but I don't know what to think of it because
the birds are rolling into the curls
and breakers of air
above fresh-planted swells of soil,
the hill against the sky interring calm
as transept to migration of vowels or genes,
these determined words shouldering the climate
and eons into breeding frenzy.

There is no ocean near. The lake is lake in name only,
a reservoir in land drier than it knows. I am trawling
the home stretch for courage
and find it in these envelopes of warmth,
no larger than the pockets I search for keys,
cards, money to pay the clerk who stands waiting,
no doubt wondering why this regular is stalled,
stunned, and smiling to conspirators
parked somewhere overhead.  

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