If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tree of Birds

Tree of Birds
by T.L. Stokes

From vast paths unlit and mysterious
I am pulled back to the water planet,
back to slim light reaching under the window,
back to the sound of a thousand broken songs--
black wings crowded into one old alder
on the edges of the field.

My eyes are sleepy. White curtain drawn
away from the window, crouched and curious,
I watch the birds. Hundreds of wings carpet
the upper stretch of old black arms.
The crow family tries to scare them off,
they all sing louder. A busy roar. A squirrel
travels along dark highways, I can't even hear
him. The alpacas, soft and elegant, stare.

I lie on a pillow at the window, snapping photos
upside down. Loud birds in their monstrous flock
sing and chatter for a long while. Then a handful,
scatter away from the tree's head. Like pepper into
empty space. Then another handful. Over and over
they shake themselves away. I have a picture, of
the last one, what is his name--

what door did he close
when they had all flown away?

for Heather
because she sees magic

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