Birds in a Circle

199 total words    

1 minutes of reading

I wouldn’t argue, either, with the good fortune

of this: a circle of bare dirt, grass and seeds,

the warm jet of air the dryer spills out

to melt the snow. I’ve seen them perched

in the ash and black locust, among a familiar

stand of blackjack and burr and chinkapin.

Creatures of unreal design – a splotch of blue

or seasonal red, a yellow that’s really more green.

They strike the pose of things with wings:

here now, gone now. But seeing them this close,

huddled in a circle of clear space, they look

too-perfectly made, ornaments hand-carved

and painted by my Vietnamese friends – Ly Bao

and Soo Kim, Matthew the son of Lu Ky.

Sometimes the things they make have fooled me:

birds red-bellied and black-capped,

the pileated and ruby-crowned static in mid-flight.

Come here, they say. Touch me. I won’t fly away.

Still, kneeling in a window above these birds,

I don’t move so they won’t. This slant of morning,

particular and alluring, tempts me to believe

a thing so lovely it’s absurd – that I could live here

forever, if only a wing weren’t made for flight,

this body of mine so much dirt.

  • Kevin Stein

    Poet and critic Kevin Stein was named Illinois Poet Laureate in 2003 and served in that position for many years. A professor of English and the director of the creative writing program at Bradley University, Stein is known for the humor and insight of his poems, and the lucidity of his prose.

Scroll to Top