Spring 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2003 |

A Pair of Tanagers

The scarlet male, his green mate, their black wings Beside the AC unit in the dull dirt: They look at first like a child's abandoned toys. But ants and iridescent flies have found them, Working along the seams of the shut beaks And the dark indentations of the eyelids. You want to give something like this a moral: Like, the woods these days are frill of hard illusions, Or, never fly north if you think you're flying south, Or, stay above rooftops; if you meet yourself Coming, it's too late; death is a big surprise. And their death together certainly startles us. Stopped short. But how recently in the rain forest, How recently in the place they were first named, Reflected on the Amazon, the Orinoco, Headlong from Brazil, into our window. You want to give something like this a moral Or see it as an omen, as a portent. And then, the long journeying comes to mind, Together such a distance, to this end.

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The scarlet male, his green mate, their black wings Beside the AC unit in the dull dirt: They look at first like a child's abandoned toys. But ants and iridescent […]

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