Julie Dennison

A Tale of Feathers

When they were birds, set on the branch together,
she could peck out anything, and he would sing it
to the stars: a beak writes sharper than a pen. Now that
they are human, mere anticipation of ecstatic strains

still sets her, Avian Maria, soaring to another plane; and yet,
each time she tries to fly them free of this chaurasi,* just
before their subtle bodies synchronize, he thinks. He thinks
he knows the melody in which to follow. Bad call. As always,

startled by the squawk of something dark, the blush of insult
barely faded from her breast, she manifests as bird of prey
and drops upon him: black as Crow, yet just a humble starling.

Lady Hawk: it could be that she knows how many times
her haggard form has thus tormented him. She tenses,
wonders when he’ll tire of this eternal tango. Sounds her feathers.

*Chaurasi: the karmic cycle of 8,400,000 species.

audio version

Julie Dennison reading her poem “A Tale of Feathers”.

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