Jim Fisher


Notes for a collage

Encyclopedic bird, with wings inferred,
Fossil of the Jurassic, linking flight
To lower origins, reptilian and impure—

I will paste you beneath two fish-eagles
Clutching fish from an Eocene river,
Your hieroglyph frame and death antic

Like some Icarus of the word. A bird
Belongs more justly in the earth, below
The rivers and the eventful predators,

The old ambition, guilty and immured.
In you I found a figure of the spirit,
Assumed the very posture and the wing,

Until my rash prefigurement, proleptic,
Collapsed, burying these divining bones
In fragments, to be studied, disinterred.


The collage imagined here was never made. After writing out these notes it occurred to me that the idea had been realized, however obscurely, in its description. I've actually had a hard time finishing any collage since "Archaeopteryx," and the few I've seen through to completion have never matched their conception. This is a song, then, of extinction.