Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

 

 

 

         DESERT BIRD
 

I am out in this desert nine years now, and I suffer

for the cold steely rain of other birdsí days.  I,

a desert bird; not kin to the orange-breasted

conspicuous robin who industriously abides

the downpour for the plump, pinkish worms to unearth

prone on the walk, like delicacies adrift off a shipwreck;

nor to the crafty, aping blue jay, who, stringing a predator,

descends screaming; nor the blood-red cardinal, skilled operatic,

who against whitest snow, stops the breath

from his perfect beauty.  I, the bird exiled; the soup pot holds

no cup of broth for me.  In this blistering land no melody

betrays my post, my song squeaks and creaks, my bill

less a bill than a pincer, and so, pathetically, I covet.

Come dusk, why I put up a racket is at last

I know the sun is a nettle who will tool me to its whims,

water is first and last, shade the sustainer, and shiny

black bees, big as a manís thumb, beckon me through the holes

in woody things to desert greenery spiked with fangs.

The cutting thorns and blades mark my bodyís borders.

Sparse blossoms of color, vigilantly reared; artless blooms

but fiercely policed.  When life feels a mutiny

I fly to the water I think I see.

I will continue to die for it.

Copyright © 2003 Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow.  All Rights Reserved.

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