In the first ring, little dogs dance
on the backs of elephants.
Why can't they be singing lobsters
riding upon rhinoceri?
In the third ring, a man with a whip
puts his head in a tiger's mouth.
Why can't the man be Cleopatra,
& the tiger be a crocodile?
In the center ring, painted clowns
chase each other with water buckets.
Why can't the clowns be whirling dervishes
with roman candles on their heads?
Above the center ring, aerial acrobats
somersault from trapeze to trapeze.
Take away the swings & safety nets,
let them fly as angels or fall.
Take a note slightly flat
with barely a breath, listen for
a bird singing in that air.
The note departs slowly, sadly,
waiting while a cloud changes shape,
something almost promised.
The eyes cannot hold it,
the ears will not grasp its form
yet the heart remembers it well
as a wind tearing a map
from the fingers, watching it
blowing away, not chasing it.
Two doves were building a nest
on a ledge jutting out above
the sliding doors of a retail store.
One patiently sat while the other
flew to the parking lot & back
with twigs & pieces of styrofoam.
"Are you crazy?" I yelled at them.
"Do you think you are common pigeons
who copulate in the rain? Or Herring Gulls
who use the x-ray vision God gave them
for finding pizza crusts within a box?
"Fly thou quickly to the hanging light
on the loading dock around the back.
There, safe from crows & curious kids,
construct your silly, little home.
Fear not the diesel exhaust, the starlings
or the pallet jacks of Sam & Felix.
"You will find abundant grass seed
in the Jewish graveyard by the condos,
plenty of puddles, plus the south-facing
spot is a transient renter's bonus,
you'll love the view of the Hilton."
The doves accepted my advice:
Protect them, Lord, your winged things,
the equals of both mollusks & mice,
the products of a million springs.
Two witches fighting. Instead of hands, they have sharp, twisted antlers.
A topographical map of Turkey.
Two lovers whose hearts had left their bodies & were meeting in mid-air for
an exchange of positive energy.
A pelvic bone in the style of Georgia O’Keefe but with a live vagina.
A coral reef.
An eagle’s beak.
A moth with highly evolved wings.
The Battle of the Crustaceans. Two shrimp contesting possession of a blade of
spartina grass. Below them, two crabs wait as reinforcements.
A shaman’s handheld totem consisting of an animal skin attached like wings to
a thin bone or stick tipped with a carved phallus & adorned with feathers.
Obviously an indispensable spiritual tool.