Bird of Paradise




I wish—

(his face between my hands)


I’m shaking.  You do get cold feet, cold everywhere,

the body shaking itself then suddenly warm.  O bird of paradise,

its ridiculous tail.


It frightens me to give him a ride, hold him

beside me.  Rain.  The car

flooded with night.  Lights from the highway stream

around our bodies.  Too late I notice

the red signal.   I’m sorry—I say it

again and again.

It’s just a color,

he replies.

Before the world meant anything.

O, look at him, here now–

I keep my eyes on the road, signs

telling me what to do.

Slick blackness everywhere

pushing the light around so it takes time

to reach our faces,

the rearview mirror lying in the road—

a piece of its dark, wet skin.  I wish

I could see him, I wish

we could enter the same body for a moment.