Robin Ekiss

World without Birds

Songs of cagelings like goldfinch
       embalmed in wax—
what is it birds sing about anyway,

                     their thimbled bodies
       flashed through with convulsions?

Do they stop warbling
       in the cornucopic ear
if happiness finds no currency here?

                     Listen: a woman may be
       stretched in the intimate pose

of a penitent—
       but for how long?
Serenade of serinettes,

                     white thrush of the throat,
       flush with invertebrate memory—

sometimes I am the daughter
       and sometimes the idea of her.
Even a man can’t live in a world

                     without birds. Chickadee:
       what do you want from me?

Toothpick made from a humming-
       bird’s claw? Razor strop,
breast pin, fossil?

                     The blood of moths
is on my hands.



"World without Birds" is from The Mansion of Happiness, (University of Georgia Press, 2009).