blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



From a Distance, I Saw Bird

I saw broken-necked crow with a beak
like a pliers that became, as I approached,

two pages from a magazine, torn in a few places
and stepped down into the snow,

the muddy underside of a boot
fingerprinted across the woman’s body,

which opened, it seemed, to any odd angle
of gaze—pornographic, shy—as I looked

down into it, the way, years later, I looked
down into you, and your face became a small pond

the cells of my face kept falling into, glittering
a moment on the surface, then gone. I didn’t know

that could happen, my face falling like snow
into more snow. That morning, my breath visible

above the magazine, I was years from the body’s
inlets, its aquatic folds, the tiny rippled scar

on your belly, like the place a beak might have
entered a lake, our bodies built to accommodate,

equally, suffering or love. No wonder we want
to be held, shored by at least a partial definition.

Once, when playfully you let me look
straight into your mouth—at the divoted teeth,

underside of tongue, the drop of skin at the back
and the waterfall of your throat—

that morning shivered back into me, how I stared
myself into the picture, trying to take the picture

up, in pieces, and assemble a woman
in my brain, how somehow I did know,

even then, that I would never not be falling,
not be letting go, how I lifted her wet

and crumpled body from the snow. 

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