Red-naped Sapsucker

The woman who danced with my palm tree
carried yesterday’s wind in her grey
and tousled hair. She couldn’t find a way
through the wall at the edge
of my yard. Her feet stirred the stones
and her hands were two
lost birds. It was early afternoon
when her red vest called
out from No Man’s Land, with me alone
to answer. Who are you? Apologies ran
down from her chin. Where do you live?
She said somewhere in the middle of the city.
And the city spread
down beyond the far side
of the mountain, beneath the strands of cloud,
expanding to where even
roads are lost. Stay close to the house,
tread with care, go slowly
until you reach pavement. And she tugged
at hope’s loose threads
past the Bird of Paradise, past
the mailbox, onto the pavement, while
a Red-naped Sapsucker looked out from a eucalyptus branch
and flew through the blink
of an eye
that was looking for home.



David Chorlton

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