When, like your narcissus, I go to sleep

When she was young
she would sit, singing birdsong trills
and madrigals in her ptarmigan throat.

We were green flesh.
Our thoughts ran together, acid and restless,
and she sang when she was nineteen,
on a California rail,
her voice in the Big Sur fog.

I built her a wedding bed
from pine and mountain hemlock.
We sleep between our whittled angels.

But she no longer sings.
In our wedding bed
her eyes weep diamonds
pressed by the moon
from some ancient pain,
from a cavernous pain.

When I enter her
she oils the sheets,
resinous as a Lebanese tree.

She rests her eyes
from their inlaying
on my arm, her walnut eyes.
There is no wealth
that does not come
from the body of my lover.

Rising for work,
with a handful of gems,
we sweep away the bloodstones
of her grieving.

Decorah Eagles Webcam

Lacking a necessary truth we make myth:
Athena breaking from the head,
Herakles, eight months old,
strangling two snakes.
He was found playing with them
by his nurse
as though they were toys.

But the fact is
nothing is born strong.
The young are always vulnerable.
When the first eaglet appeared
it was just a pip in the egg.
One hundred thousand people watched.

The camera panned the road
by the fish hatchery.
It snowed; there was an ice storm.
The mother spread her wings.
The tree shook, the chicks walked too close.
The nest was eighty feet up.

They were too small
but their beaks grew first
and their feet, outsized,
they wrapped like quiet bombs.
They fell comically,
and if the muskrat
or the raccoon or the raven
took some comfort in that /
when the female flew from the nest
she made a sound like a flag unfurled,
a sound that strikes at the gut,
the snap of banners above a bristling
regiment.

They had their chance:
there was the height of the nest,
the two parents gone,
the helpless ball of down,
but full-fledged, the young one
will tip from the branch,
and then it is too late,
when the wind catches the first flight
feather.

Copyright © 2019 Lilibug Publishing.