Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Flicker (A cadralor)

Greg Schechter, "Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted," 2010

The call—squeezing plosives through
shafted light—repeats. I tilt my head
to fix the source, perhaps to see the
bird, but there’s no bird, just the call.
Is this a song with no singer? What is
it, that cleaves the air and my heart?

Taking my loneliness out for a walk, I stopped by a
movie theater, a seedy old revival house, where the
matinee was a double feature: “Popeye” and “Shaft.”
The line went around the block. I paid my five dollars,
sat among fierce joy-filled children hollering for their
heroes as the baddies were beat down. The cheering
in the flickering light, when we still believed in justice.

The limb that split off the apple tree the week
after we bought the cottage. Where it cracked
wasn’t a clean wound. Now half-healed, half-
rotten; worse, a water sprout thick as another
trunk’s behind the break, an imbalancing act
near a row of Os augured by downies. Flecked
shadows; perforations tell the wind, “Tear here.”

I walked and walked, far from where I lived.
It was twilight in that city, I was night-blind
at the bottom of those steep sooty canyons.
The deserts I’d known weren’t as arid as my
hope for joy, there. Waiting for rain, for tears.

The first bird I knew, here, was a surprise out
on my brother’s balcony. An awkward landing
seen out of the corner of my eye as we were
talking. Spots! And gray, and a flash of color
when it wheeled over the railing, falling into the
sky. Red-shafted, my brother said; I thought it
a miracle, to be so beautiful and so common.


Annette said...

Breath taking Lori.

am said...

Thank you for this generous gift.