by judith skillman
Tonight they line bars of music—
the starlings gathered on wires like hundreds
of crowded sixteenth notes. It’s that way
the world enters your eyes—too much beauty
and song ever to understand. The more
space you take up, the more they press
together on electric lines: the concerto
you bailed on, the instrument you dropped.
Each rounded breast holds feathers. And you
too tender to take the brush against skin—
it lights your nerves. Signals cross
when you talk to the man.
The starlings gather for nightfall,
know their own kind. Would rather sit a spell
beside traffic than become part of a lake
as large as a city. What kind of thoughts besiege
the conductor who faces your particular,
obsessive, sequestered orchestra?
How fast can you count? Will you name
this sonata after the moon or the sun?