Tuesday, May 1, 2012

other birds' songs

I paid no attention to the day as it was breaking, but it broke all the same. It rides the rails of wind and dust, dousing candles and inflaming allergic reactions as it can. The regular declarations of fiery sovereignty  are spit by the mockingbird, airing retreads of other birds’ songs. It is a tense and jangling music, like the melody of a thrown rod, or a set of wrenches spilling in twos and threes. I can almost see the score as I am pelted by twigs and dirts. The day doesn’t really work. We have that much in common.

Gravel spills outside the gates of the old dog yard, mingling with buried brick and dry clay besides the back porch on one end, and slowing the chain-link gate on the other. As a child I would play for hours in the gravel, skipping them over the dog house, crushing the stragglers between hunks of quartz. Now there is rust and clutter, dozens of pots and shelves I still haven’t sorted out. The wind continues to coil about the earth and all its refugees, throwing a commotion through the trees and shrubs and drowsy clouds across the face of the firmament. Time’s touch is both clumsy and light.

It isn’t enough, what little I manage to accomplish or commit. A faint trace of labor, some pitiful abomination. Words scattered like salt from a toppled cellar, broken promises and empty threats. No clout that I can’t carry, all compass and no map. The mockingbird is still at it, whirring like a starling and scolding like a jay. The wind sets the shadows to shimmer, buffeting leaf and limb above. Things break and rust and linger on past their purpose, descending by design. Dogs bark and children laugh. The ruckus just goes on and on. I don’t see far and I don’t see clearly, my eyes all cloudy, stung with dust.

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