To finish this three-part series, a few months ago I heard a poem by L. A. Jones, a fellow attendee of the Squaw Valley Poetry Workshop, and recognized snippets from NPR–snippets that related to information that I’d heard and pondered and half-forgotten. I liked what she did with these and Lisa graciously allowed me to publish:
A petting zoo in your mouth
your furry mouth
all that fur in your mouth
it could break your heart
unable to talk.
The one who has read all the myths
says its universal, the first sin
we must comprehend
an apple, a limb.
What about the large lobster?
The one that can’t move
in the tank.
Does it speak to you?
And the 100 year old fat lady–
would you save her too? Carry her
on a plane to Maine and
release her in the ocean?
How wise she must be.
The man doesn’t remember why
small animals scare him.
Not the snakes or spiders. It’s the bony
birds, dart of mice, twitch and
shudder of the rabbit’s coat.
Hand remembers the shape
of an egg.
If you cut down the oldest living organism
–4000 year old tree–
you’ll have to study salt flats
There you are on the picnic table
–your mother placed you there
to make you seem tall–
the bear walking slowly through
Ode to chicken soup.
Ode to spiders.
Ode to elephants, pampas grass, and asters.
Ants, the internet, and cameras.
Ode to iPad bird song.
A large man has learned to walk
through china displays
of civilization. Now in the water
he lets himself be a boy, loves,
lunges playfully at a friend.
A rib breaks.
They killed the young cowbirds in their hands.
They set the forests on fire.
All for the Kirtland’s warbler.
A man died in the blaze.
The mouth remembers snow, sea foam, blood.
How we bit into our own cheeks.
We shake our hands and feet
out of the crust of continents.
L. A. Jones
You can see more at http://alchemyofbirds.blogspot.com/