when the birds died
we collected them 
in a glass holy-goblet.
blew on them softly 
until they turned to light.
still though, on the right afternoon
i will turn on a fire 
& hear a thousand wing-beats.
nestlings falling toward flight.
during the years without a sun
we had no idea what each other looked like.
spent our days re-telling 
the stories of our lives
until they were as short 
as a sentence each. "i caught a devil
in the creek rocks" &
"my mother couldn't remember my name"
& "without the smell of lavendar 
i'd be dead." i want to learn
to catelog my losses without 
living only for them. this is 
easier said than done. here is where
the birds died. we have light
because the birds folded inward
& opened orchidly onto the room.
my sentence is "i was a girl
& then i was a boy & now i am
a prophet." i saw feathers
behind my eyelids since before
i knew what they were called--
thought of them as collected eyelashes.
i try to blink as often 
as possible. pretending what i see
is a series of photographs.
one following the other.
maybe there is a lake kept by the gods
where a polaroid of every second lives.
if i could i spend the rest of my days
swimming there in search 
of an image of the last bird.
her wings are what make
every shadow in me. i would steal
her image for myself. maybe slip it
beneath my pillow as i slept.
absorb some of that boundlessness.
commiserate over our desires
to fracture in illumination.
a loon calls as i turn on my desk lamp.
outside, a flock of yesterdays
passes beneath the always. 
i take a picture of my hands
& add it to the inventory.

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