Upon the morning of the spring equinox I steal precisely ten words from John Berryman

by Alice George


When the starlings finish drinking from the gutters
their bodies will be slightly heavier.

When the low sun’s voice no longer fills the sky like eastern yeast rising,
it will be time to pay the perfect bill.

I believe starlings and sparrows (there are sparrows now) are not connected
with my desire to feel connected with them.

I believe we slept together last night (the window)
and that their soft bodies are dangerously small.

Everyone in this morning house, my husband and two children, has wings.
Music issues from their hands and their mouths.

I believe the bud-fuzzed map of elm branches
outside my window adds up to something incalculable, green.

When the stucco on the house with starling gutters stops looking pink,
I become fluent in misery, how to drink it, how to flush it away.

No longer shall I wake confused by murky B-movie dreams.
I shall step into the hero shoes beneath my bed, and go forth.

I believe the gap between my body and my children’s as they hug
is a long wonder the world can bear & be.

No longer shall I avert my eyes when passing a neighbor on our sidewalks.
I will lift my chin, mention some common cause.

Everyone on this block has begun turning towards the sun.
We are halfway there. We are that close.

When the gutters dry up, the old leaves will curl like invalids
before they are lifted by the April wind.


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