Monday, June 04, 2012

How I Met the Curious Blackbird

I was walking in the Presidio, among the graves
of a thousand soldiers dead –
veterans (the ones whose tombstones I read)
of Vietnam, Korea, two world wars –

some including their wives (“Together
again” one said), most alone,
when something fluttering, bold and black,
landed, abruptly, on my head.

Surprised, I brushed the wild thing off,
but it fluttered and landed again.
Again I swept the thing off, laughing,
and stubbornly down again it came.

It was a blackbird, and I was under attack!
No matter how hard I swept
the obstinate bird off of my head,
he just would not stay swept.

I gave up at last, and he rode in triumph
my crown for a yard or a bit,
then flapped down to a nearby grave,
in his beak a light brown clump.

A clump of my hair. For his nest?
I only could surmise.
I smiled at the silly blackbird
as he, for a moment, stared back

with a bright, a cunning, a golden eye,
then he rasped, and he rose
across the acres of graves that surrounded me,
rows on rows on rows.


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