The Red Bird and the Wolves

I forgot that I’d come into the forest looking for a little red bird. A long time ago I had followed it in, tracked it by its song that seemed to promise that something would change if I kept going. The trees grew dense and I grew lost. Everything looked the same. Every sound was the wolf coming to eat me up. The wolves around every corner ate up the red bird, ate up the time before, ate up everything except the trees and the overgrowth and the snapping twigs.

I had stopped looking for a way out when I finally found it, emerging at the exact point I had first seen the red bird. All the colors were too bright, the green of the hills, the brown of the path, the red of all the birds singing in the sky. They brought with them all the memories the wolves had eaten up, and that these birds had been here all along, waiting for me to come back from the forest.

But in the forest the wolves were waiting too.

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Misplaced Baggage

“Thank you,”

I say, soundless.

I hope he can read lips,

While not looking at my face.

I had spent too long away,

Lost in thoughts far from the crowd,

And upon returning found

My voice had been lost in transit.

I try again,

To push the words out,

But by then he’s gone,

And I’m kicking myself,

For being rude,

And being away,

While someone,

A strange someone,

Was being with me.

Tiger

It’s the difficulty of telling the truth

It’s every bone in your body telling you to run,

Then freezing when you try.

It’s love

That can’t be returned,

But seems so beautiful

Because it means you’re not

(I’m not)

As broken as you thought.

It’s looking at the train tracks longingly,

But waiting

And getting on

And going to work.

And work seems like an affirmation.

Church bells that have damned you

Still sound like hallelujah.

They can take salvation,

But they can’t steal the beauty of the sound

From anyone.

Finding the thrill in a tiny apartment,

Building a shield out of patterns

Trying to tear us down.

We’ll survive this.

We’ll look back and laugh

At our starry eyes,

Our blurry photographs

That we thought were artistic

At drunken poems written on blogs

That no one ever read.

What now seems overwhelming

Will look precious,

Like a tiger from a great distance.

We’ll forget the teeth,

And only remember the brilliant colors.