Saturday, January 25, 2014

3 Kingfishers

3 Kingfishers

Because it is okay to relate tales
of fugitive connection,

(they are not discounted by their nature,
and neither are most things;

we are defined more by our heft,
by our breath, whether it briefly was
or stoutly still is, than by

our moment's pedigree,)

because it is okay to reveal
that I have seen three kingfishers
in three days,

I will tell you that I lay
on Friday in the ice-plant,

by the water and the dead
white crabs,

with a tide-pool woman named
Mary Elizabeth covering my body

as a summer quilt.

And now I am in California,
I write letters from home and
drudge up dirge:

did that cypress hunch over the cliff's
sudden break? Did it stoop?
No, it

slouched. It slouched beneath the
weight of time unspoken.

The old homestead gazed at my
nakedness as the sea-grass protected
my tender soles, my

wobbling pink paws gashed by barnacles.

The kingfisher said, don't worry,
you won't drown!

And the seals slept.

I am ruddy and born of
the Gaviota coast.

Borne on the gray current
of central California, crusted
in the scum of brine and kelp's
slick plasma.

I am queer as a loon,

tracing the skies
with an optic wand

attuned to movements quick as
a fine sting,

sharp as a switch  

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