like an angel, a white tern
visits my wooden kitchen room
& makes a tree of me.
they're known for laying eggs
right on tree branches. no nest at all.
i used to climb trees as a kid. i was
smooth & as unknowingly fragile
as an egg. the sun made a sitting room
of my heart. sometimes i fell
& took a piece of sky down with me.
hid the fragment from all my friends
& soon lovers. the shards always dissolved
leaving little white stains
wherever they had laid. the white tern waits
till i'm standing at the kitchen counter
& looking out the back window at
the piling snow. again, i'm washing
the same plate. again, i'm considering
which bowl to scrape with one of two spoons.
living alone in february leads to echos,
faint pulses of waiting for ancienct greens.
one egg deposited on my collar bone.
another on my nose & a final right
at the crown of my head. future birds.
i thank the white tern for flying
all the way from the tropics just
to teach me how to balance. how to lay
a life in skin-bone crease like i used to
when the world had more beds & more aching.
when they hatch i will be a mother.
hopefully not a father. by then maybe
the snow will have melted & i can sit
on my porch & tell them everything i can
about flight. until then, i can be still.
their little impending wings wink at me.
i ask the white tern not to leave
but she must. leaves one feather
on the sill before departing,
smeared into the white glowing snow.