The Language of Birds
The bird swoops
from the neighbor’s roof,
low over the pool
like a crop-dusting plane over prairie wheat.
and when I again look up,
it has already sailed over my bedroom dome,
up to the hills that march above our fraccionamiento,
still green from the rainy season,
holding yellow flowers in bunches
like a hopeful suitor.
It is movement only
and a flash of brown,
not white like the albino owl
that swooped in a similar downward curve
over the pool and up again
that night our old friend died
alone in a hotel room in London.
This is the language of birds.
My two-woodpecker alarm clock,
every morning stirring me
from my solitary bed
to engage with the day.
The whir of hummingbirds
outside the window
in front of my desk cave,
drawing my attention away
from the worrisome puzzle of the next word.
standing at attention on one leg,
balancing on the dense hyacinths
that blanket the lake,
one eye intent on shadows
beneath water no human eye sees.
That sudden flash,
a filled beak
and that puzzle of digestion––
how to get a horizontal fish down a vertical gullet.
All the music of my life
sometimes distills down to the chorus
of thrush and cardinal,
wren and grackle,
of the egret.
By some synchronicity,
conducted into a natural choir
that is beautiful in its spontaneity.
What orchestra has that fine precision
and that moving harmony?
Every art a mere imitation
of what the world provides us every day
that we present ourselves to experience it.