That there are too many birds—I know this already.

But the buckshot-pierced dove’s open mouth

 

echoed my lover’s sleep-slackened jaw, so I

covered its body with leaves and swore off

 

my rifle forever. And if I decided love was possible

because her eyelashes iridesced like peacock feathers,

 

so be it. If a house sparrow arrives on my sill,

sprig of language pinched in her beak, who am I

 

to tell her no? The first time I saw the plastic owl

perched on my San Francisco rooftop, I circled

 

the building three times, awed by the fog-hazed

visitation. The stunned robin who hunkered

 

on the deck for hours—that she flew away meant

one thing, that she left a red stain meant another.

 

 

 

Cheryl Dumesnil
Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of a collection of poems, In Praise of Falling, and a memoir, Love Song for Baby X. With Kim Addonizio she co-edited the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Filed under: Poetry

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