Frigatebird

by ...

Stephen Brockwell

 

To be shat upon from the stratosphere
is no small miracle of gravity
and trade winds, but to be shoulder-splattered
with an eye, the carob-centered white dot
of soaring sea bird stool, is to be granted
the voice of the bard for a few seconds
to tap the Saxon spring for expletives.
Frank Ebanks tells me—in different words—
the frigatebird is no Canada goose;
it plies the up-and-down draughts with the grace
of a Martha Graham gossamer dance—
breathtaking. But it’s air-bound; one wet feather
and say goodbye to soaring with the clouds.
An exercise in breeding: the frigate class
never get their feathers wet. If they did,
they wouldn’t breed or wouldn’t feed the brood
they leave on shore. One takes the privilege
of effortless flight to an extreme, cleans
its feathers, preens while hanging with the clouds
—no, not like an open mic poet washing
stains from her shirt as she reads an ecstatic
ode to gods who have yet to believe in us—
but like a ten-million-dollar southpaw
driving his Telsa to the mound, sliding
out the gull-wing doors to throw a slider,
nicking the strike box at the bottom left
while polishing his alligator wallet.
I was going to say, “Who wouldn’t love to be
that bird, not the crane in a Basho haiga,
but the poet painting word and image
with a single stroke while slicing finest
maguro from the belly of bluefin?”
Such effortless excellence is a joke.
If the geese waddle on the muddy shore
and wade near riverbanks to feed on sedge,
cattails, and snails among algae-plagued reeds,
or make a way-point of cattle corn fields
to graze on abandoned cobs, when they fly,
they shit on us with artless abundance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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