I hug my love’s body in the warm night in sleep
and we sweat together, while outside some bird
calls out like singing. We hear it, even
sleeping, and it changes the shape of our dreams.
We both believe in animals no one has named.
Standing in a slow-moving elevator up
a stranger tells me he was swimming just beyond
the waves and sand bars when a huge fish
or even a whale swam by, its body
brushing his legs. Then we step off together
and go our separate ways. And many years ago,
when my children were small, a mockingbird flew
into the elevator I was riding in alone.
It flew against the wall, stunned itself, and fell
to the floor, so I cupped it in my hands and walked
from office to office asking for a window
that would open so I could put it on the sill there
until it came to and could fly. But those windows
don’t open, so I finally carried it outside
and set it gently down in the root-crotch of a tree
and went back to work. I love the way those birds sing
in other birds’ voices and even with the cries
of barking and our human sounds. The truest love is every day,
we understand that now, even sleeping.
Michael Hettich | Mudlark No. 40 (2010)
Contents | Leap and Fall Away