A Cargo of Green Hearts
it’s fair, said the crow, these black
feathers and voice like gargling on nails
what they call us when we gather:
murder—as if we contrived to
peck out hearts. the earth has
clothed us in ashes and death
and there is endless need for those
things, I know—but sometimes in the
night when wind gives up whistling
and the owl's electric eye stalks us to
shivering onto the plank of a branch
I am no longer of death
am indistinguishable from dark
alone and freed to sing a high blue note
or burst into flame, not
able to hold onto whatever you
make of me.
it is said, before my time
before naming, we were
white birds born of snow
who dipped ourselves
down from the poles to
quench a fire that
would eat the entire planet.
once you take on suffering
there is no going back
you are the cloth of the
ghats thence forward.
sometimes I compose a hoarse poem
or laugh madly or fall into
a kiss as if to break my bones on it.
always, I am wearing these same
feathers but not getting any younger.
but the flying, the way earth looks
small and gifted as a seed I might peck
up and plant in some faraway,
sane dirt--well, tell me
what you would not trade for that.
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