by January 9, 2021 0 comments

Every poem should have a bird in it — Mary Oliver

Cynosure, gravid, pabulum,
were just three of the many
unusual specimens
I’d been lucky enough
to glimpse in the last few days.
And then I was at the dentist
when I heard risible singing
from behind my hygienist’s
face mask: “These muscles
around your mouth,” she said,
“are your risible muscles,”
and I reached for my metaphorical
binoculars and feasted
on risible perched at the edge
of that noun phrase,
where I’d never seen it before.
It was a rare sighting and I could sense
the dinosaur DNA of that dactyl
going all the way back to the Old French rire
and the Latin ridere, and maybe
I felt a little ridiculous
as I offered her my invisible
binoculars and she declined because
she was wearing a face shield
over her face mask, and her hands were full
of my teeth. Nevertheless, I know she appreciated
risible the way I appreciated it
when I heard its song–which sounds like
laughter–emanating from her own mouth
as I sat there with my mouth open
wider than song, wider than laughter,
as wide as a baby-bird mouth.

editors note:

The birds for us. – mh clay

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