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Monday Meditations

Here's a Monday bird meditation in honor of the thousands of geese making their way north in the flyway that passes over our house near the Missouri River. This poem first appeared entitled "Bird Girl" in The Flat Water Stirs: Anthology of Emerging Nebraska Poets, WSC Press.


Where my shoulder blades angle out and away,

I feel budding wings, pinfeathers still tight

in their waxy shafts. And if I would only rub my back

against a fencepost, hollow bones would pierce the skin.

I would tilt into early morning sunlight and the shafts

would split, wax flaking off like early snow. A gust

of northern wind would blow scapular feathers

into perfect barbed intersections, while I hunker down

in the pasture, waiting for coverts, secondary feathers,

(at last) flight feathers. I would arch forward, stretch

wings over pale clumsy arms, wings open and tipped

in feathered hands. I would fold and unfold

the new wings, run my teeth along waxy spines

to pull each feather into place. If only I could shake

off this dark weight of earth—anomaly of amygdalae

that makes bones too dense, melts disappointment

into leaden veins, carves anchors of loss and sorrow.

If only, in a sudden updraft of impossibility, these wings,

prehensile and tucked near my heart since birth

or before, would make sudden graceful figure eights,

would scoop air and push it back in undulating

cushions of lift, just maybe, I would fly.


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