Poetry from NER 42.1 (2021)
to dance, also hidden. But he will get the girl.
His featherless, out of the egg pre-wish to dance hidden too.
His hidden hidden. His pre-egg in the nest, hidden. Its yolk and white
not yet yolk and white, equally hidden.
A song the lyrebird steps to and into. By heart and habit.
But hidden. Ditto that wild footloose, the very thing
also hidden from us, the thing famous and forlorn and ecstatic.
His mimic song, an old sound effect record from the ’50s, a camera’s
click then its whirl, a braking truck, a car alarm, a chainsaw
plus twenty other birds screaming. Properly: redoes them.
His sound bites, the more worldly the better
to wow-woo her. Under trees. On the little mound he’s cleared
to dance. The way ahead circled by thorns and, higher up, stars.
How small must one be
to be hidden? How large to pass through larger things hidden—
sky by clouds, rain by darkness or dawn,
hopelessness by the wish for what’s next and next.
Please. Don’t think fire, not yet. Or smoke, flight, the dark all day
a kind of pandemic. Too early or too late in those woods.
But we saw a posted alert for the is: this bird can dance
and sing his way into that mythic throb
of lady-business. Some resourceful someone
made it precise, and only slightly pornographic the arrow (this way!)
to where he-of-the–one-track-mind might stand and hide
in the voice of such worldly things.
The wooden notice nearly sang what he’s up to, the bird’s dance
and song, his fabulous hind feathers to hypnotize the very one
who maybe thought all along she’d have some other fate.
Hidden but about to not be, hidden but ancient unto the day.
No, we never saw him. Or her, for that matter. But me, a life member,
the World Congress of the Disappointed, I understand hope.
As in, who knew art was involved? It’s a sign.