Two Poems — Tara Bray


A small wren jimmied her way into my chest,
plucked out my heart, then hers, swapped them—quick.
And Francis stands all day in gardens everywhere
always a bird in hand, or nudged against his robe,
this man who starved into a sleeve of bones,
while malaria bit down on him and chewed.
My hands so sore with wrong, I can't be soothed.
When I die, the birds will not wheel down to sing
although I've fed them mounds of seeds.
Not once have I felt one in my hand,
stepping with its pointed delicacy of pain.
One wingbeat and my heart is just my own.
A wren glues you to the dirt and then you fade.
The earth is warm then cold, the birds just birds.



Northern Flicker

exquisite seriousness
                                black crescent
          formal in spite of spotted pantaloons
                                its tail props up a trace of prophecy
as it cleans its beak in the tree bark's crevices
                      oh the sweet superiority
          honey-weaver             and hardship
dignity made real                               in a reddish slant of light

Dark-Eyed Juncos

darting for the cliffs and clicking in the sun
                                 their tails a trinity
triangled white on slate
           plunging through the burning layers of sky
vagabonds                not quitters                don't explain

Lesser Goldfinches

safe in winter plainness
           then spring the gold of them explodes
newborn mystics
                     black skullcaps roused by yellow fire
lemon lust
            those happy sisters
                                  laughing haints
          rising                  risk               mingling
think loss      swarm              virtue               those last words

typo magazine — issue three