Lazy birds sing what sound to be questions,
small inquisitions, diminuendo, trills in five-eighths time,
while hurrahs of wind rush the dense canopy of their home,
like waves on sand.

Erase traces of what used to be.
Beyond, I hear loggers, large machines, mechanical chorales spun,
in odd reverberant Om, mantras for flat-felled forests.
Erase traces of what used to be.

I rush the treeline, run insanely,
unable to draw enough air to support the bellow I envision,
the weight of the howl I want to import, the reply I want to scream,

to the wood pigeon, the grand thrush,
the paradise parrot, the heath hen,

to the parakeet, the laughing owl,
the island rail, the piopio,

to the Kaua’i ‘O’o,
the grebe, and the oystercatcher . . .

My chest heaves, uncontrollable gasps,
like a mourner in the front row,
my eyelids gummy, thick strands of hot tears,
sun-waves diffracted, rainbows sheared on my optic nerve.

I purse my lips and find the bird call within me,
I sing a soulful lament, run arpeggios clean
without glissando, a call to flee,
to fly away, to find places that we cannot find.

But my song is lost to the world of sound around me,
to the crescendo that approaches rapidly, the steady march, a goose step:
Erase traces of what used to be.
Erase traces of what used to be.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013