Tree, reach a bold, electric violet-white arm,
an arm scraped bare of skin, up to heaven! Let
your lithe limbs sing bioluminescent
against a thick pallu of sky which is
woven at dusk and studded with a single moonstone.
Let your nude body shine like a tall-shouldered ghost,
pallid and hungry for stars and souls – and all the while,
dear sycamore, curl your stiff, skinless fingers
around a few inches of evening silk and pull;
reveal the scandalous shoulder that Ratri hides
from the eye of daylight!
Sycamore, can you hold up that sky
as it becomes gravid with purple and
seeking soma stars to inhale? Is this the hour of magic
that we are to behold? Is this why
your arms slowly unfold, you bare-skinned wooden
saint? Do you care that we rest on your
digits, night by night, to sing our own song
Hear me, O Tree: we are cracked open, crackpot corvids
whose non-spangled black banners yet wave
over the land of the dusk and the home of the knave!
We are two – sonorous and audacious,
screeching in tongues that scrape velvet linings
from the insides of the ears of any listener within
a close radius of our home – and we beseech you
for that same hour of magic every night:
I, the Half-Impaired, and he, my partner in flight.
Those who consider us slack-jawed should
compare us with our jackdaw cousins and
marvel at the separation of perch and fate. We chose
you, O Tree. We live, we love, and we
create newer versions of ourselves inside your
wooden arms. When Ushas mounts her chariot,
we launch from your arms, gather our victuals,
and fly under the blazing daylight cast off from its
golden wheels. When Ratri calls us to roost, we
return to your own strong shoulders and marvel at
how feathers contrast with your white and yet blend
with the night. And when Shani climbs onto our backs
and urges us past the veil between flesh and spirit, we will
make off with pictures of you as stolen suns in our beaks.
I don’t think he will even know: we will tuck you
inside our jaws for safe keeping.
Written 4/19, 4/22, and 4/23/13
© 2013 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #152: Animals. I chose a purplish-white sycamore tree and the raven as my animal (no surprise there). I’ve annotated this poem with a few Wikipedia articles to aid the reader.
I hope everyone’s poeming is going well — this is the first I’ve written in April and just did not have time to do thirty poems in thirty days. I hope you enjoy this poem.