How a Toronto pigeon sold
for five thousand dollars,
is delicately inserted into a tube, sleeps,
and wakes in new hands in Dubai.
How the butcher bird skewers
its prey, impales it on thorn
or spike for later.
How coyotes have erased rabbits
and gophers from their holes,
but not wild turkeys from scrub
or low pine. Their toothy spurs,
hard breast plates, eagle eyes
in Sunday dinner dress.
How red-crowned cranes race
from Sibera to Korea and back again;
the flock in Eastern Hokkaido
who’ve shorted migratory switch.
How a black paper crane,
South Korea-sent, years late
is found pressed between
two books. Love, _____.
How the dead forever home,
like blind pilots for territory
real or imagined. An island
recorded, but long unseen.
Years of endless water.
The threading of a needle
through squinted eye, a world
with four suns strung and burning.
Or closer, the fence, acres long,
breached only at the farthest
point and still unnoticed.
Never one to make things
easy, or to make them at all,
the orbit of fatted children
that loop around every bus stop
and station an unsettling question.
On boarding, the arc of plastic
handles just low enough
to be missed, wind flat stomach,
which is not vanity but a lacking.
More inside than one can see
and no way to extract it.
Existence of the possibility
of existence inferred only
by how close a stranger stands,
or doesn’t. How many times
we’ve scanned the sky for life,
or for something to explain
how the dark spaces are heavy
with so much. A herd of cattle
on the head of a pin; a trillion stars
and no way to reach them.
The understanding that if life
hasn’t discovered me yet,
its gaze has already passed by.
Dani Couture is a poet and novelist. Her second collection of poetry, Sweet, was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and won the ReLit Award. A third collection of poetry, Yaw, is forthcoming in 2014. She is the literary editor at This Magazine.
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