Asking of the Bird What it Cannot Offer
Laura Van Prooyen
The grackles could be a figment. So too, the outdoor café
and the couple under the tree that clatters with noise.
It is morning. With certainty I can say: Here is the sun.
But the man at the table looks like the one I love
who once watched me cut our grass
as grackles swooped in to pick our lawn.
The way he holds his toast is familiar. And look
how he reaches for the woman’s hand.
She is turned from him and toward the river, stirring
her coffee, clinking the spoon.
I note this man. And the proximity
of the woman to the bridge.
It is then the grackles lift like smoke from a house fire
to fan across the sky.
If this is imagined and the rustling that remains
is another black bird, I ask it to say it is so.
© 2009 University of North Carolina Greensboro