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).