I will be bird to your wire.
Birds of a Feather
A future zuihitsu
Our eyes bend what they cannot see. The end of deepest winter.
I suspect things are growing again. After sleeping soundly for centuries, muddy buds are pushing into the crunch of air.
Will we miss the deep freeze? The sound of snow falling on snow?
Many days I start off as you and end leagues away.
Is it my ambiguous skin? Not human, not amphibian, not fowl, not insect, but mammal.
And what of the cyber creatures?
Of the people, we say. A casing as bright as a beetle of yore. What it means to never be alone again.
Imagine the ancient scientists in their white coats standing forever with hands behind their backs. Heads bowed in prayer or punishment. Either way, we’re their splayed creation myth—hubris or bridge.
A whole planet of things to restore or discard, swirling in currents, washing up into caves.
All day, I waited for the light to hit just so. Rib bones, aluminum, rebar. Waited for a sign—what to do with this inheritance.
Did we ask for such patience, such flight?
All day, I watched the flowers turn their new faces to the old sun. That’s devotion. Or maybe instinct. Have we learned the difference?
The sex of flowers undoes me. Such delicate anatomy.
I want to be fingers not folded but crane. I want to be salt to your kingdom. I will be bird to your wire.
“Birds of a Feather” (poem) from Last Days by Tamiko Beyer, Alice James Books, 2021
When it finally rained again, the hydrangea bowled and bowed to the black dirt. Its flowers painted by drought, soil acidity, condensation.
The sweets are kept on ice: a single sour plum encased in clear sugar syrup, clean as rain on the tongue.
Say a word and watch it evaporate.
I cannot keep myself together. Limbs dissolving in the rain. My bright red center pumping, while this mask and that name slip away.
There is a country of temples, mud, and blackboards. That’s where I left my tongue. I wanted reckoning. I got a woman drenched from a sudden storm.
When all you lick all the sugar away, the plum will sit on your tongue. Smooth. Hard. Resourceful.
Originally published in Dovetail (Slapering Hol Press, 2017).