Flying Home

Peri with her back to the camera, looking fluffed up.

Peri, a green Quaker parrot standing with her back to the camera, fluffed up and leaning a bit on a feather toy hanging from her small hospital cage.

I never knew you well
But I know enough to see
You are as perfect as a bird can be

And right now
Over the trees
I see
A flock of birds
Made out of nothing but light
A flock of birds
Waiting for your final flight

So don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid when they come
They’re only coming
To welcome you home

When it’s time to fly away
Then fly away
Don’t hold out too long
Trying to stay

You have the whole of eternity
To fly into
And everyone there
Will join with you

So when you know it’s time
And you’ll know
Fly away
Leave us behind
Our love will ensure
We won’t be long behind you now
We won’t be long behind
Behind you now

Bill’s Grandma And Me

A stream flowed around her
But never touched her feet
Birds perched on her head
Beaks sifting through her hair

Bill said not to talk to her
There’s nobody there, said his friend
Don’t waste your words
On the living dead

A bird flew out from her hair
He whispered in my ear
The secrets known only to birds
To old women taken for dead

With no motion at all
A smile played across her mind
She inclined her head
And invited me to dance

Did I agree —
Or did she just take my hand?
She whirled me through the air
Caught me, set me down

Yes, there were others there
But all save one of them
Couldn’t see the dance
Noticed not a thing —

Just a senile old lady
And an idiot child
Staring nowhere
Being nobody
Experiencing nothing

If Grief Is Love

I already feel as if
Some part of me
Has been shattered into pieces
That spread on the wind
Even at the prospect
Of your upcoming death

My body has been going into shaking fits
Without my permission or approval
And I didn’t want to show you
How upset I am
Because it’s your death
Not mine

But I just read
That grief is love

And if grief is love
Then I am so filled with love for you
That my body can barely hold it
It shakes and trembles, outside my control
Because I love you too much for words

The terror, the grief, the pain
They are all just words for love
And if those are love
Then my body shows my love
By quaking like a wild baby bird
Picked up by a human hand for the first time

Whippoorwill

Whippoorwill whippoorwill
That’s the noise my ears are making
Whippoorwill whippoorwill
And maybe they’ll take me home

Maybe they’ll take me home to that place on a hill
I can feel it around me like warm glowing fire
It tells me I have a place
I have a place in the world still
Whippoorwill whippoorwill
I have a place in the world still

Maybe all the dancing colors won’t have to mean a thing
The words couldn’t tell me a shred of what there is to know
Even if I could hear them as more than the whippoorwill sings

Whippoorwill whippoorwill
Maybe the rhythm will get me through the day
Whippoorwill whippoorwill
It’s impossibly blue spreading out all around me
Maybe it will
Be the whippoorwill
Who guides me home
Who tells me of marona

I thought she was just a bird in a book
Until I heard her call me home
To a place she’s never lived
(Except between the pages of a book)

But the whippoorwill is calling as if her life depends on the sound
And I am flying — flying — flying —
— Now a tangled heap on the ground

I pick up a redwood cone
Smell the sorrel
Squish a mushroom with my butt

How would a whippoorwill
From a book
Lead me here
What does this whippoorwill
Know of marona

All I know is I can’t trust my eyes
I can’t trust the words people want me to hear
Whippoorwill is a call from a time
Before hearing, before seeing
When everything was feeling

And whippoorwill calls me back, calls me back
Tells me this is where you belong
This is where you are
Every day of your life
Know it or not

It’s the source
At the center
Of your song

There will be times when you can’t feel a thing
But you’re still in marona
You can never leave

So go to marona
Stay in marona
Rest in marona
Live in marona
Love in marona
Marona is home.