EVEN DIRTY BIRDS by Dorothea Lasky


by Dorothea Lasky (from BLACK LIFE)

Sun on the shadows, even dirty birds are nice when they brush up against you
Like the pigeons in the park when they come whirling at you they are nice
To feel their wings and necks against you, like wind only better
Because they are living
Grey birds because they are dirty
With city soot, the smokestacks
Of living in a sour time, the way that we breathe so
In every city legend we work
Too fast to be part machine but only part of it
That we are machines only in that we are not birds
I am part of this world but I am not
What you thought I was, and when you stand next to me
You will feel my aura of this time but a timeless times
That is always new because it is water and air
And when I speak, it is a new voice but it is not a new voice
No, it is an old one, no it is present so
That you find yourself in love with me
Well who could blame you, I can't stop you
From loving a ghost of yourself that was willing to speak
Of living things that you so readily had forgotten when you yourself so was
so living so living so that you forgot how to breathe and you died
I will not let you die, no
So there are ghosts that are not me but that I am a reflection of
In that I am living, water, and air, part lime in that I am a woman
But I am not a woman so much so that I am air
And air that breathes through you giving you a home that I will never
take away
I will never take this home away, soft bed that is my voice
And hot chili in the dinner I make for you
You have come back from working all day with coal and ice
Come back, I will take you back to what you once knew