Monday, June 12, 2006

I would still be

We waited in the field like birds,
little brown wrens, little not-yets,
shaded in swiss dot strawberry

leaves. Little ones brought over,
my sister and I. She turned pink
and I bronzed. We slept in the heat,

back to back, little bones, swiping
the knats that teared in our eyes.
When morning opened the doors,

we ran and hid in the fields
to watch. Oh make me a big house.
Make me a blackbird. I want to be

a blackbird. But I was not. Even
hidden, I was hidden in beige,
the corn left for animals, loose-toothed,

hard. We were hiding from men,
our father and uncles who would
throw us in air, leave us in trees,

mistake for laughter our screams.
On the back of their motorbikes,
into our legs, the engines wrote

names. One summer they killed
the hornets by dosing the nest in gas,
a flaming turban. The peacocks tore

at the cars. The dogs were chained.
At the first dirt swirl, I stood up.
I didn’t know you were coming next.

I went past the mailbox. I got in the first car
for a candy wrapped in a strawberry
plastic. Heat gave the road a ghost,

and I wanted to be dancing. Now
I want to be a bird again. I want to be
waiting. Why did we stop waiting?

We were fine. We were fine, eating
berry burrs and mouse seed. The birds
landed on our braided hair, and the men

called but could not find us. You were
coming. You were coming. I didn’t know
you were coming. I would have grown

up, hid in the field. I would have curled
in a rabbit whorl. I would have waited.
That moon you have given me is softer

than a mouse nest, that shade you have
given me is calmer is than a fern frond,
that drink you have given me is sweeter

than a leaf-spill. I am a bird in the field
and I want to find you. I want to find
you. And I want to tell you hold on.