four chambered heart

July 19, 2007  |  poetry

I have said you give me
wings

I have said
though I have been collecting
feathers, downy
and sweet, flight and contour
and semiplume feathers,
bristle and filoplume
feathers, it was you
who gave me the map,
the blueprint, for the verb
to soar, to take off
and land, to catch a ray
of wind
and float.

I have said
you take me to such peaks,
take me to the apex
of mountains,
looking earthward
toward valleys
where everything
is exact,
organized,
acquiescent
I could continue

with hollow bones and unfolding
migration flying, nesting,
cracking open, a four-chambered
heart, ruby breasted flocks,
hovering
perching
But I was raised not
to believe

in pride. I don’t know
what it’s like for others
to take credit
for my efforts,
no matter how much
my triumph was aided
by your maps, your
supple caresses, your
careful slices of leather
cut around the outlines
of my feet
for my landing.

This flight is my
victory

And while you are calling
to me from the clifftop, yelling
claims to my own ascending
moments, the air is so clear
and still
all I can hear
is the pulsing
cadence
of my
own
wings.

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