I am as certain
as the breathless heat after spring
that when a traveling bird finds a tree, the tree
will not have found the bird.

…a gliding bird
landing on any branch of the first tree he sees,
and in the tree, behind each leaf,
is a translucent serpent growing from its tree’s trunk,
writhing with live venom like the sea:

Salty and endless, cycling throughout the day,
sleeping in its waiting,
waiting for a place to lie warm,

and in the bird, this danger lies latent.
The bird—my bird—
the bird who I am—
me and I and no one else I have met—
rests its toes against the bark,
and in the bark on the bark and of the bark
and it becomes just as much a part of the bird
as each hollow bone and those pluckable quills,
the bark.

When they fall from the tree,
the bird
with its bark…


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