Kimberly Burwick

Like Cold Water

the mechanism is gentle
and unforgiving—
field-births and lemons
in the factory air.
It’s as easy as writing a letter
saying never come here again,
keeping it close and unmailed
for weeks, until the air
turns humid, yellow birds call back,
and you see eventually
it seals itself shut.
Some evenings I promise to walk out
on the mystery, leave it
for a perfectly trained eye
who sees the unbroken
horses as they are, in flat pink,
who knows the word for crying
from this much delicacy.
Is it the world or its modesty
which tethers so completely
the young bird’s legs
flung into the next field?
You know, abstractly, an arc is made.
It sounds like fiddles
played mid-autumn when the quaking
orange trees seemed accidental, as if death
came to split the world down the core
and the world flamed back
and you were there, laying on your back,
looking in the right direction.
That sound goes.
Here, the bird is plain and dead.
Each delay is disappointing.
So still we become—
these wings, those flames,
bowing gently, bowing violently.


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