The Bird Born Out of Weather


This sloppy mix, rain mingling with wet snow, dropped
all afternoon and into dark, sealing doors, silencing birds,

those little scraps of God or perhaps the disintegrating ego
of God. So in the morning, mud, no sound but water

dropping from limbs and eaves, a car down the street
revving to test the lice-skinned roads. By noon, roads will clear,

sun might even patch the ground. And a few sullen birds
will peck the soggy ground for what they can find.

But now, sleep dangles like the elusive silver bird
a boy from a story sees while out hunting one day

and chases until he has spent all his arrows, trying
to bring it down, until he is miles from any land

he knows, as far from sleep as the percussions of rain
and my own reckless brain have taken me. A story might

take years and this boy will be swept in a tumult of events
like a car spinning on black ice. He will travel for years

away from the valley of his birth, until a toss of fate
returns him to the place he started, a place still known,

but changed. The few who recall his name know him
as a tale to caution children from wandering too far,

not this stranger marked by travel and foreign battles
who throws a near-stranger’s shadow over lanes settled

and made different over the years. And though he knows
five languages and a thousand names for God, he walks

to the edge of the settlement, listening again for the silver bird
whose song he followed into the life that became his own.

Al Maginnes