chickadee choir practice
In my dream I see birds pinwheeling, mad, between
The points of the stars, the bright rays of sun, the Lichtenberg
Mess of the trees, leaves dew-laden from which they sing sweetly.
Consider: a satellite burning, unreached, a submarine, crushed under pressure.

You tell me my book ends too sadly. I answer,
They both die; death doesn’t make something sad by pure virtue,
Which is true. They die and fall back into each other’s arms,
When all is said and done. Their flesh-bared lungs, pressed together, breathe in perfect tandem.

I am torn clean between reverie and reading,
The pull and the push, the come and the go. In the middling
Pit, hugged around me like a mother, I put my palms flat
To the crown, feel the lack of give. No one is getting out of here, dead or alive.

Here, too, will be the hollow bones of the sweet birds,
Underfoot. Gravity is an enactor of awful
Justice, to fold sky and earth just as one may paper sheets.
Nests rain down their sticks, beginning and end all at the roots of the same cypress tree.

I begin having panic attacks again near
The mid of June. I cannot go outside without holding
Your arm, running my eyes along the sleaze and the number
Sum of our apartment building, cutting the world to geometry, all set lines.

My dreams, preoccupied with life and nonlife, have
Not a care for the ghosts commuting or the alley cats,
The girl click-clicking her lighter in the doorway, the junk
Truck tearing up the street, blasting the top-fifty loud and clear as clarion bells.

In the story, the lovers, reunited, guard
Their indiscretions to their chests, their living regrets spurned,
Never alluring as osseous tissue tangling,
And sloughing skin. The earth is the great equalizer; all men in the ground, shameless.

In waking I feel up and down your arms, careful,
Clutch at the hem of your shirtsleeve — a mnemonic for how
That shirt was the last unpacked from the bag. The girl’s lighter
Clicks anew. The city-sounds start to leak in, my ears unfolding like wildflowers.

Listen close, I say, because you’re not tired yet.
Spare me a sense. We tilt our heads. Up on high: birds singing,
Throwing themselves blind at the wind, at the world’s solid dome,
Tracing the serration joyfully. Watching close, jealous gravity allows it,
For now.