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.