Nocturne: For the Aviaries
Then the rain came,
full of a sadness I’ve never seen before,
through the cottonwoods
and along the river,
which is no longer a river
but an apparition under the sand.
Had I five hummingbirds,
I would make a love charm
and string them from the tongue
of a small copper bell in those branches,
necks hovered together, broken.
Had I a swan, it would sleep
under the hives
with a bucket of fresh milk,
with the splintered white faces of goats.
To reclaim or take apart the night,
like the city does, carving through
the blind river?
The brilliant debris of stars, the air?
Nothing in this world is ours.
By Joshua Poteat
Recipient of the 2015 Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
Reprinted by permission of Anhinga Press
from Ornithologies by Joshua Poteat.
Copyright © 2006 by Joshua Poteat.