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March 27, 2023

Lavender Limbs

By Shelly J. Norris

Lavender Limbs

Someone -- an ornithologist, perhaps --
designed a study that determined
greater bird species variety
brings more happiness to humans.

I don't know the particulars: just as
without catechism a homily on the dawn
of Advent is wasted on me, so without
empirical sentiment, the sediment

of methodology is absent of edification.
I prefer to parse the fictions of homesick
revelers returning from holidays, geese
veeing north, or observe from respectable

distances the way crows are, the way
crows do, the way crows know just when
to show up, a hot scruffy murder
of sensibility. Or the way a female

Osprey arrives right on schedule.
The male presents a first perfect twig
to his returning mate; she arranges
his homecoming gift gingerly

as a door wreath while he scoops
their first fish from the homing lake
for their reacquaintance dinner
as they ease into the harrowing work

of co-parenting. They have a system.
I follow the flights of a variety of avian angels
ashamed I have only this one language,
one alphabet, one tongue, this one voice

pinched at the throat. Into a shallow body
I dive, gather ancient vowels and consonants
in my jowls like a pelican's floundering haul.
Yet find not enough utterance to name

the most blessed blessed, no words
to properly sanctify the narrow space
between thirst and all the species perched
upon the lavender limbs of my joy.

Article © Shelly J. Norris. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-04-25
Image(s) are public domain.
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