blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




The egret’s platform of sticks no more permanent
than my furnished room on West 58th Street—
that shared toilet a marsh creek or slough
rich in mice. Think how all the wading birds
like to breed near each other, regurgitating night
and day into the maws of their young. Think of
the apartments we inhabited on busy avenues,
the honking of cars trapped by double parkers,
the attic rooms with low dormers we hit our heads on,
the ghastly abstract mural a tenant painted on the green wall,
its pretension of vitality and swirl and soft mire
where the bittern coughs. Think how the ring-billed
gull returns north, replenishing itself on farmers’ pests,
how we abandoned the Bronx to arrive on a snow-filled
midnight in Syracuse, our goods on the sidewalk like twigs
for the picking.  

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