Fritz Ward

(Momentary Perch, Renee Carriere, 2010—mixed media)


               The body of the finch
               is carefully bent wire,
               then words layered
               upon words: the five-day
               forecast full of rain, half
               a homicide, everything
               fifty percent off—
                                             the past
                                             pasted              so delicately
               together,               then perched
               on a bare sycamore branch.


               The shadow is so much larger
               than the bird. The bird
               a kind of shadow
               for my life right now.
               This year, you taught me
               how everything must go:
               The bodies we built.
               The stories we told.
               The clouds and the clouds
               and the bandages stained.
               And of course the trees
               we shared our shame beneath.
               And of course our tenderness
               beneath the thousand birds.
               And of course their songs,
               slitting our red throats
               beneath the sun's
               smoldering, cancerous




A postcard featuring an image of [a paper mache bird] found its way to my mailbox, then to my desk, then into a poem. Then everything changed, as it so often does.