flight response: bird and horse
This parakeet, for example, with her indignant glare
and obsession with shining shook-foil things
like the coins she hurls from my window sill,
unaware of the beak of the wild,
its keen and brutal sharpness.
All this long day a mynah has been stalking her
like a noonday cop through the glass
as she wings about her inquisitive life.
When it storms the window
she takes off with a scallopped squawk,
navigating her self-made flight paths
assembled from instinct and acumen.
Have you seen the bay mare leaning into the hill
with its nose in this sea of grass?
Once I fell from her great height
when she took fright at the wrens darting in
and out of the pencil strokes of reeds,
gathering her bulk back into herself
tense with wing-quiver, poised on the point
of ascent as her ancestors had done
back when horses had wings
and took flight.
It might be that the sun is gaunt with winter but even so
it has called you outside to dig in the soil.
And suddenly there is life where you had forgotten it,
scurrying on six or eight legs in leaf rot.
What are hours and minutes?
Most ticking creatures do not know them.
Only that dirt can be hasty or slow, that dark can be porous;
is an aperture opening towards what we call spring,
which treads quickly, trailing its skirt across the earth’s face.
Earth worms proliferate in ruddy skeins,
beetles intensify their circular resolve.
For want of a better word, this is dirt-time.
You plunge your hands into the world
and let the earth move them around the clock
of its own unknowing.