Morning Song I'm up early listening to the hidden birds, Their choir of trills and riffs, and it's as if the trees Were singing, the branches tossing up and down Like a diva's arms, when in fact, it's the birds, Concealed among the green needles Or flat yellowish leaves, puppeteers Crouched behind a tapestry, animating The blue auditorium of morning. Above us, the mountains, a cut road Like a child's colorless ribbon, winding away Into a dream she will wake from and struggle To remember, until her trance is broken By birdsong--this life calling to her From the small mouths of the trees. This morning begins almost purely, coffee Enveloped in cream, those clouds that bloom up Like madness in a cup, and I take the first swallow Before the color changes, taste the bitterness And the faint sweet behind it, steam Rubbing my nose, an animal nuzzle, And the sharp, nearly painful heat At the back of my tongue, the liquid Unraveling down the raw tunnel of my throat. And I feel my body fully, vessel of desire, My stomach a pond of want and warmth, Utterly human, divine and awake. And I can hear Each bird's separate song, the chirr and scree, The sip, sip, sip, the dwindle and uplift yearning, The soups on, soups on, let up, let it go Of each individual voice, and I know I am here, In this widening light, as we all are, with them, Even the most damaged among us or lonely Or nearly dead, and that for each of us there is Some small sound like an unseen bird or A red bike grinding along the gravel path That could wake us, and take us home. And though I know this momentary settling Into the world of things doesn't change the past Or muffle the true cries or the cruelty, give the man Who lost his daughter back, the daughter Her full abandonment, can't mend the cold Nickel-sized hole in her heart, though I know It can't suffice, that the suffering goes on-- That other music--a thin wing of ... a film of ... There was breeze light as gauze Along the inside of my arm last night That turned, for a moment, suddenly warm, Almost tropic, and raised hairs I could hardly see. This morning I think I'm prepared for death, That final diminishment, with something Like a waking, ready awe. My complaints Folded and put away like needlework-- Scant embroidery, scribbles, a sketch, the blue Knots and dropped stitches--in a drawer, Unfinished, intricate woven roads that go Nowhere or disappear in the distance, rough Wanderings that have brought me here, to this Sleep-repaired morning, these singing trees And into my own listening body.
DORIANNE LAUX is the author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions, Awake (1990), What We Carry (1994), and Smoke (2000). Among her awards are a Pushcart Prize for poetry, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Laux works for the University of Oregon's Creative Writing Program.
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|Title Annotation:||four poems|
|Publication:||The American Poetry Review|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2003|