A beautiful phrase I am sure I have never heard. And yet,
he shows it to me: Yes, I wrote it here in brown ink on canvas.
And here, a quick brushstroke to suggest a hilltop,
and here, several quadrangles to form the city where we met,
and here, and there, fat drips and bright trails of violet paint
where the paper softened and buckled and dried.
And here a bird A red bird in a winterblack tree A red bird
his long tail extending indefinitely out of this fixed plane
this plane a red bird this plane a winterblack tree Here a red bird—
Miraculous Bird, he says again, as if it were his name, as if
I might have forgotten him, too, a year after the concussion.
I take the tender gift into my lap as I do
the pictures of my mother in her twenties.
The small hands of my eyes open and close at the shapes:
more familial than familiar, like me and not of me—
a beforeness, a red bird singing
at a frequency far out of range.