Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Little red rooster

January, 1958, The Year of Brother Rooster
This newborn fire
scampers across the yard,
stamps the ground with
hardscrabbled feet,
skinny, orange-scaled, tipped with nail.
Inside the house the mother's belly erupts in
Procession, through the window groans may
be heard, the air inside is full of sweaty faith,
serious business, women's work.
Somewhere, someone has written
an efficient volume on the
dismemberment of your lovers' bodies;
beneath the glare of a consumptive interest
you are, like a wick, gone out of yourself.
But, you are no black wick, resplendent
in your quick, provincial plumáge, muted
only by the dust spurred ascendently into
the air where it hangs around you like an
antique atonement with wood and wire and
the cackling of your thorny brood.
Brahma bird, you dance a firery dance of
love. Inside a woman labors. You have
announced the death of gods,
proved prophesies,
are born to war.
Blood cauled priest of the red carbuncle,
sturdy, turgid bird,
prodigious and possessive lover whose
heat the egging bodies of your charges
crave, plain white lovers press themselves
against your fire.
Behind the house, a silo full of grain, and
beyond that then the trees that lift the
January sun. Through the window the break
and snap of midwifery is heard. In the yard
the rooster's call is raised. Through a blowing
curtain, a nascent yowl springs forward. A gasp.
Exhaustion and relief.
The rumpled hens of morning pass the word,
garbled pidgin spreads from roost to roost,
infiltrates the busy air like droppings
everywhere, like feathers plucked, like blood
and semen, like bodies intertwined in the
cracked shell of a summer night.

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