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POEM: Jean-Jacques And The Finch

Jean-Jacques And The Finch

He walks five miles through suburbs and parking lots,
sending photos of English ivy back to its home ground.

He stops to look at birds because that’s what she’d do,
and that’s what he’d do, too, which is why he’s telling her.

The pods of the catalpa dangle like alien fingers
as he stoops below them to angle the camera just so.

On other nights she’s sent ghostly images of blackened forests;
captured the orange glow above rows of identical roofs.

He’s listening to Allen Ginsberg, she’s reading Rousseau.
He wishes he’d brought some water, but he hadn’t planned

to take this walk; continued in response to her delight at the photos.
A turkey vulture glides above his head. He raises one hand

to shield his eyes, captures the image with his thumb.
Rousseau to Voltaire: “I hate you … But I hate you as a man

better fitted to love you, had you so willed.”
There’s a purple finch on the wire under the water tower,

balanced in that way birds can and humans aspire to.
He imagines the feeling of falling, or feels it, truly –

his chest tightening at the thought.
When he looks again the finch is gone.

/ / /

20 February 2023
State College PA

Published in Birds My poems Poetry

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