Bird Box
(for Christina)

by Michael Sukach

Broken wing.
It is always six o'clock or seven, Sunday
or Monday, October, this year or another
in a bird box with penciled-out holes
through which just enough light passes
like the uncertainty that every hour could be
a decade spilling from the cup of your hands.

Nothing seems to change between two men talking
without saying anything but understanding everything
until the waitress interrupts what they are not saying
and at least one looks up to say what he'll have.

Everything spins in the street. The Black Lab, for example,
turning tighter circles directly proportional to the radius
of the leash a woman is desperately trying to correct
by reversing her spin on the ball of her opposing foot.

Can't think about much else when you find a bird
in your living room, which is still unpainted, lamps
and chairs a party huddled together in the center;
and there's the book you lost, or thought you lost.

The Bird.
A bird cradled to your chest will listen to your heart.
The emergency animal clinic nurse understands this.
Try to imagine a quiet way of saying you were amazing.
Think he will be alright? And I want it to be true. Yes.

After a late dinner, a silence during the drive home,
I wanted to say something silly about the two men seated
next to us in the restaurant or the woman pirouetting
with her dog in the street. The breath comes without
words. The bed is where we talk. So, I wait till then.

You hand me my toothbrush, I pass you the toothpaste.
We are married like that. I’m still awake when your bird
hand settles on my chest. I can feel your heart beating.
Little bird heart, I think. Some hands are expert at this.

Mike Sukach's fiction and poetry has appeared in Ontologica, theNewerYork, Cellpoems, The Blast Furnace, and The Citron Review. His poetry is also anthologized in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, published by Southeast Missouri State University Press. Closer look:

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