by Laurie Klein
In God’s backyard, roosting birds
reawaken the old throes
interred within us—personal heartland,
tangled as any natural cover, where
plumage seamlessly melds with shadows.
A glint of eyes, like coals . . . there!
Then gone. Who among us can cease,
feathering a nest for our dead? Around us,
avian clamor distills to a tune,
an earworm, a little engine of grief
frisking memory: a grandmother’s
blessing, limpid as rain, evanescent
sheen of notes from a brother’s cornet.
Say we stroke onto canvas the pulsing
throats we visualize via their sounds: Why,
our plein air psyches might render
a mourning dove, even Shakespeare’s lark,
rising to riff before gates of pearl. O heaven,
behold the delicate scrim of the retina,
while the soul, with its inmost eye,
peers wistfully back into this world, secretly
fledging, beyond the breastbone.
Laurie Klein is the author of Where the Sky Opens (Poeima/Cascade). A past winner of the Thomas Merton prize, her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest..