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On Reading a Bird

by Joyce Meggett

Begin with a premise:
a bird is a book.

This avocet,
legible as any field guide,
was yet alive
the twenty-first of June three decades and a half ago.

His feet are fans,
and we deduce a shore.
His tag recalls a feast of escargot —
a salt marsh then.
His long legs have been traveling on silt;
his head and neck are flushed with urgency.

So, thriving in his mating plumage,
he uttered his alarmed delight
and traced the mud of Dulac and Chauvin.

In ardent bliss he set his turned-up beak to flattering the seastrand.

The rapture of his flight I think you know.

And when his small death came, he folded shut.

[Author's note] Dulac and Chauvin are small communities in the wetlands of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, which is frequented by migrating avocets.

Copyright © 2018 by Joyce Meggett

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