Lines Regarding the Black Feathers on Canton

By CURTIS BAUER

 

Grackles foraging outside of a Whataburger near North Lake Park.

Soon enough the grackles will truth

the yard out back beneath the wires,

 

the sidewalk cracks, the live oak roots.

They will lose their dying feathers, now glossed

 

a greasy sheen the females polish

their beaks with. They must be blind,

 

or like a shiny bone. Or they mistake

the burr and clatter from the other’s

 

throat for song, the clamor a talisman

that pulls them in. Like a lover might

 

feel the pulse in the other’s arm

and want to hold it tighter, let

 

the beating become a surging matched

in her chest. When I pass the grackles

 

on 21st, they turn and watch me pass

like the crows back in Oskaloosa

 

used to look down on me, the only man

walking those blank streets, and watch.

 

Silence here can needle into the cracks

and weaken a structure’s core. Like water

 

erodes every solid, can wear it paper thin.

A song a woman sang me once, a tender

 

orchid of a song so delicate I thought hearing

it would wilt every molecule of its beauty, did this,

 

too. The voice that bloomed the song’s flower

today became the grackle explosion and call.

 

Beneath the surface, beside the roots that black

beckons me back to the lover I was, to recall

 

what beauty is lost, the stain my life has become.

 

 

 

Curtis Bauer is the author of three poetry collections: his first, Fence Line (2004), won the John Ciardi Poetry Prize; Spanish Sketchbook (2012) is a bilingual English/Spanish collection published in Spain; and The Real Cause for Your Absence will be released March 2013 by C&R Press. 

Photo by Rich Anderson from Flickr Creative Commons

Lines Regarding the Black Feathers on Canton

Related Posts

Palm tree and building at dusk

Monsoon

URVI KUMBHAT
From my window I see a boy shaking the bougainvillea / for flowers. My parents talk of pruning it. They talk / of little else. The tree, spilling wildly past our house into / the gulley—where boys come to smoke or piss.

Image of Sewer Bed Beach

Effluent of the Affluent

MARY BERGMAN
We are losing this place twice over: first to money, and then to sea. There are ways to quantify these losses: only 3,200 bushels of scallops were caught this past winter and more than $2 billion in real estate transactions were recorded last year. My parents aren’t sure where they should be buried.

Coconut and Bananas

ROMANA CAPEK-HABEKOVIC
A couple of days ago my husband returned from the grocery store with a pound of bananas and a small coconut. The bananas were perfectly ripe for consumption, and I put them in a fruit basket.