A Prose Poem


The bird had been broken—shot through by a huntress with a cavernous mouth and teeth like stalactites and from its depths was heard a long echo. The bird’s neck was twisted like a pretzel—its head and brittle yellow beak (the two small holes in which were full of dried blood) and its eyes, dried like raisins, stared upward from its ossuary of wild grass toward a mothering maple tree. The summer sun—gold leaf to some (the living, most of all)—but to this poor creature only caused flies to circle in insidious buzz.

Carried God the Man a sylvan bourn to this lifeless animal—and he knelt, not to worship but to relive, and perhaps to reawaken, for he had died, and that death was his compassion—he was twice-born, so he no longer worshiped death, having died a child to be born a man.

His eyes filled up with water—blue-black oceans that teemed with glowing fishes. Ice-capped mountains formed on his brow and a third-eye sun dawned upon his head. The fishes schooled together and swam upright onto land to penetrate emerald green forests to become sheep and wolves; and to each sheep paired a wolf, and from each sheep-wolf grew wide wings of pearl and lapis lazuli. And they climbed the canopy of sheltering trees to become mighty birds that took flight into the dark night toward celestial spheres to become angels—to sing and shed tears—life-giving rain that fell mercifully on this poor creature around which flies circled in insidious buzz.

“These are my tears,” he whispered and the bird craned its neck to hear. How can one not love that which must die, for all that one loves is extinguished in death. His love mended its broken wings and its neck uncoiled like spring, and its eyes filled up with moisture—rueful, bewildered, and fragile.

And it looked up to God the Man as a nestling might to its mother and said, “Now I am forever always, as must be the wind through which I’ll soar.” But in its seeing eye was a mote of disbelief, as if it didn’t quite believe it was now alive, and that perhaps it was all a dream. And yet it flew, and flew—into the bright blue sky it flew.

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