Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Spring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1




Still groggy from gas,
          his eyelids greased shut,
                    all he saw was a world burning

in amber.  When the nurse peeled tape
          from his bandaged shin,
                     staph seeped from the knife-cut.

He pretended to sleep
          under the wings of her dress, the ceiling
                    TV buzzing like a hornet’s nest.

The penicillin she left on a tray
          was the color of mucus. 
                    So was the cup of ice cream.   

For five days he plotted the coordinates
          of flies behind his window,
                    their drones in a spider’s knots.

When he finally went home,
          he rediscovered the blue sheen
                    on grass, sun

lighting red candelabras of swamp maples,
          parachutes of mist hovering from the waterfall
                    where an Indian jumped,

daffodils blowing trumpets over graves.
          Holed up in his room,
                    he followed the orange skin

of the school bus flashing as it turned,
          snow retreating into shadows
                   of Christmas trees and stone walls.

In the silence, the light hardened.
          To stay calm, he counted his heartbeats,
                    pieced together bird models,

nailed them to blue walls.
          If anyone called,
                    he let the birds speak for him.  

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