Issue Twenty-Six - Summer 2015

Accidental Bird-Watcher

By Renée M. Schell

I have no idea what species you belong to
or what name your mate cries out.

You fly a perfect loop, a ferris wheel
against blue sky. Scraps of white

cloud listen for the music of your flight. Again
you circumscribe that enormous roundness,

nearly skimming the earth with your breast.
A third time you complete the circle, an aerial

feat to impress me. Pages flutter, my book falls
to the ground as I rise from the iron bench. How

much of your fragile energy you expend to attract
me. I stretch my wings in appreciation but

I don’t know which berries I am supposed
to prefer, nor the song I should sing to accept

your display. And already you’re gone. You haven’t
taught me ferris wheel, how to keep the wheel

from stopping, how to maintain equilibrium.
Iridescent bird, how long did you fly for me?

The time it takes to read fourteen lines? To sing
a Gaelic song or play a late quartet? Fly back!

Watch me gather the dry grass, foil from a pack
of cigarettes. I see the perfect Y-shaped branch.

We’ll dream of updrafts, barbed wire and wetlands.
The eggs will be warm in their nest of twigs and lint.

Copyright Schell 2015