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“the bird husband (O my shadow of myself )” by Marcella Durand

The following poem is an excerpt from Marcella Durand’s newest book To husband is to tender.  If you like what you read, make sure you check out the rest of her collection here!

the bird husband (O my shadow of myself )

the bird husband only

perches at the window

and worries over water

and stays away from cats

and talks to his beloved

from treetops and inside

shrubs; the dense greenery

shields him so only his voice

can be heard and his voice

can be heard over great

distances and his voice

varies as song varies and carries

over great distances as his

voice and what he has to say

carries like song over great

distances, the sound-analysis

of his voice reveals amazing

things, and all the same no

one understands what he

is saying: he is saying beware

of the poisoned scissors,

beware of marrying ogres,

beware of the queen’s

machinations, beware of the

king’s apathy—together they

are imbalanced, asymmetrical,

and incite in each other a forgetfulness;

they forget all their husbands

and wives and children, and who

is to be trusted and whether gossip

serves as a way to strengthen

group bonds and whether the

word gossip is unfairly negative

because it is so closely associated

with how women communicate

with each other; the pages and

servants watch the bird wife

and bird husband closely and

report to each other in a way

as to make every small action

significant and yet no one

monitors the bluebird

singing and braving scissors

to fly so far away to

fight cats and English

sparrows who brutally

in their invasive way

peck out the eyes of

fledglings: it is for that

the bird husband

makes a box with a small

hole and shimmering

tassels to frighten away

the territorial sparrows; it is

for that the bluebird

stays a certain

distance from the house.

The wound on the window sill,

beware of.

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