Courtship Dive

A broad-tailed hummingbird,
the one with the green back and the scarlet throat,
flies between two pines
at opposite sides of the lot,
pauses out of reach,
pivots in place,
first to the left: here’s my throat,
then to the right: here’s my tail,
pivoting left, and then to the right,
all the time whirring
around an invisible pin.

And then, of course, there is no pin.
That also was a mirage,
sound faking form:
a fiddle string vibrating so hard
it loses itself.

In the near dark
when the deer come out
he soars sixty feet into the air,
turns hard to ground
in a suicide dive
from which he must pull out,
but who could see it?

She can see it, a friend told me once,
down low in the lilacs —
sees him resurface
high in his inverted world,
where gemstones drop loose from the clouds
and lightning races into the sky
from the loving earth.

Os Pavões Brancos

Porque os pavões brancos
na Avenida Pinheiros
sente-se em gaiolas de arame ao lado dos estábulos
eu comparo os seus corpos
a lótus que crescem na lama,
ou para uma cabeça de fósforo
iluminado na escuridão.

Nem sempre foi assim:
durante meses, mal conseguimos vê-los
entre as caudas de cor creme
dos cavalos em miniatura
e só sabíamos que eles estavam lá
porque um sinal em uma poste de cerca
disse “pavões adultos à venda”.

Mas agora,
mesmo aos domingos brilhantes,
eles estouram contra a lama
como faíscas de soldadores
e eu fico acordado, vendo-os
drapeados no nosso corrimão de cedro húmido,
o fardo de beleza deles
como um buraco
perfurado no céu.

White Peacocks

Because the white peacocks
on Lodgepole Drive
sit in wire cages next to the stables
I compare their bodies
to lotuses that grow in the mud,
or to a matchhead
lit in the darkness.

It wasn’t always that way:
for months we could barely pick them out
among the cream-colored tails
of the miniature horses
and only knew they were there
because a sign on a fencepost
said “adult peacocks for sale”.

But now,
even on bright Sundays,
they sputter against the mud
like welders’ sparks
and I lie awake, seeing them
draped on our damp cedar railing,
the burden of their beauty
like a hole
punched in the sky.

A Lot of Talk About Extinction

This is how it starts.
Out of the seeming
dead branch, the green hands
of the mountain mahogany
overnight, about to flex.

There has been a lot of talk
lately about extinction,
and there will be some:
there always was, I guess, before anything
much cared about comings and goings.
It is only this that makes it hurt:
the deep quiet of a Colorado morning,
the sky cerulean, cupped blue
as though we were seeing it
from inside the egg
of that migratory thrush,
our new feathers —
you could hardly call them that —
new skin,
bones, beak, near formless

and the scrim of the earth,
all it means, outside the glowing shell.

But instead, we must somehow be
in the other hemisphere:
not this northern Easter but in mid fall,
the stars all different,
the dry seed, like the corkscrew style
of the mahogany — a few stragglers stuck
among the small green hands — the rest
long since picked up, blown off and out
to other work.