The Nemesis Bird
The airplane thunders with my nemesis, the blue jay,
A stowaway bromia in the overhead bin.
What quirk in space, dear phantasmagoric hen,
Caused you mid-flight to stylishly apparate,
Following me back from home, frightening the stewardess?
The nemesis bird is the scholarly term
For the amateur ornithogue’s ivory whale.
I couldn’t catch a glimpse of your sapphire crest,
Blue babe, in Milwaukee where I baited you with suet.
I waited on my porch; your warble haunted sunset.
How sad how you shuffle from junction to junction
You fluted from a breast of vermiculated glass.
I told you that drifters find home in transition
And that I’d appreciate a little less sass
From you- dare I say it- you glorified parakeet.
Back to the nightmare at 40,000 feet
I glimpse the blade of a blue-grey wing
Twaying a haphazard way into the cockpit.
The passengers are clutching the back of seats
In front of them. The airplane wavers. Will we make it?
So it is. The fuselage, destined to flame.
My jubilant death births a little sister sun.
And finally, suspended above the lake, I reclaim
My estate in the fire and become undone.
I burn, and I burn. My nighttime sunlight lifts
the curtain of twilight to render transparent
The ink in the midnight, feather-edging dusk
The sun-and-moon sky illuminated
with a soft brush.
As I fall into the lake it occurs to me
Perhaps I am stranded at the bottom a well
And the moon is the hospital-bright light slowly filtering
From the world above.
How soothing it would be
To watch a child let go of his balloon
And rise to the moon-door
In a strange reverse of gravity.
To him I’d like to ask:
Does the moon have a moon?
Footnote to 'The Nemesis Bird' (A): Blue Babe
I rent a way home
Shadowing the in-craft lights.
The city in a cape
Of November red.
I follow the sun around the house.
Greenhorned and peaked and revvying.
I’m at home, at a distance.
It’s taken a while
To give up on light-houses
But keep up with the ceremony.
Now we’ve got it figured out.
Wrap my antlers with Christmas lights
To make of me
Bowl in my hips.
I take my sister to a movie.
Ten dollars and some change.
Outside the theater we watch a balloon
Diffuse into sky
Next to the new moon
And it vanishes.
But I am reasonably sure
Somewhere it is gliding and
Dauntless. A blue babe.
Footnote to 'The Nemesis Bird' (B): Inventory of the Bottom of Lake Michigan (on birch bark)
water, sand, rocks, fish, dead fish,
garbage, kelp, the floating head
of a decapitated chihuahua.
important: in that order.
nothing beached, all tidal.
by the moon. allow me to elaborate.
consider the petrified driftwood vaguely
resembling one of the fifty states
in a far-out, planetarian way,
a spiral staircase ten stories tall,
the empty of the moon, one hunka suet,
a crumbling well-stone, one bronzed turret,
one hive (of two), a mason jar of honey glue,
a waterlogged headband (hers)
with plush reindeer antlers,
an ashen bit of grey fluff,
american spirits, my fuselage
Footnote to 'The Nemesis Bird' (C): Heartland
Cover the quivering cup behind the collar bone
In the park I think joggers know more than I do.
$10.76 buys me a pack of opposite-jogging.
There’s no hurry home is a fuselage in my chest.
I burn cigarettes underwater, one by one, scattering ash.
The sun follows me around the house.
By now the entire moonland of Wisconsin brings to mind
An empty movie theater parking lot.