blackbird online journal Spring 2008  Vol. 7  No. 1



All My Vendettas I’ve Given Your Name

How little shame I have, considering the many pities
of our feud.
                       For instance, the sympathetic stress
of our mynah bird, the one that learned to replicate

 my voice.
                       Morning after morning
we saw its cage sagged with the weight of the feathers it had
plucked and spat about itself. Then the morning

                       we found it dead beneath its perch, I knew
there was no one left to hear my pleas

for harmony. That you had given it my name—that black
                                  irony—was inescapable. So
all my vendettas I’ve given your name,
Alice. Which means noble. Which means truth. 

            My left and bony hand coming back tonight, clawing deep
                                  in the dirt where you laid the bird to rest . . . well,

how you’ll tremble in the morning
                                  when you see it at the end
                       of my boot trail, its hollow

body positioned just so
                       beneath the smeary prints
I’ve left on your window.  

return to top