The light gray bird flies across the fence.
It flummoxes the squirrel and cordons off the yard.
It flies into the office and enters the sentence
I was writing about a bird that lacks clear ambition
But understands the glimmer of the pin
Because its eyes are made of needles.
The bird upchucks a fetus because like all birds
Its body is pain’s whistling vehicle.
It shimmers on the bookshelf, whistles a fight song
And pecks at the forefathers’ portraits
Before building a nest with their radioactive scraps.
What is it thinking? What does it want?
Can it hatch offspring in this fucked up sludge fest?
What is the bird’s mood? Is it an apricot?
Masculine? Feminine? Feminine-masculine?
Militant? Militant fruit? Fiery fruit? Bursting flesh?
A fire opening in the sun? A sun burning a crèche?
Where can it leave its brood?
************************************* When the bird
Flies back to the window, the window becomes its song
And its nest and its throat of blood.
It launches a neighborhood protection program
And from the rosebush assembles a man of thorns,
A big cop whose head is congested
So he pistol-whips himself until the enhanced interrogation
Launches his brains into the sky
Where the bloody pieces become a droning swarm
Blocking out the moonlight, bloodying the sunlight,
Drowning the birdsongs, clogging the throats,
Clustering around the gray bird and ushering its clusters
To the squad car, the cash nest, the broken unlit cradle.
Nathan Hoks’ books include Reveilles (Salt, 2010) and The Narrow Circle (Penguin, 2013), which Dean Young selected for the 2012 National Poetry Series. He currently teaches poetry writing as a lecturer at the University of Chicago, and runs Convulsive Editions, a micro-press that produces handmade editions of chapbooks and broadsides.