The wings are scored
feather by feather
of nearly weightless wood,
and neatly folded one over the other.
The student of art in Kinshasa
put her name in capitals underneath.
I brought the bird
she gazes through the kitchen window.
Her neck is so satin smooth
and sapling thin I have to look away
sometimes or the milk in my tea
will curdle with memory of lives
not mine to touch.
Kinshasa is a harsh ricochet.
Surely, Mbantshi, you were born
near water. Such a neck could not reach
as it does in the window,
as though the roiling waters
of Lake Kivu were just beyond,
and the thin canoes of fishermen
setting off at sunset to net tilapia.
Surely such an ineffable neck
craned toward you as a child.
THE PATIENT STONES
When I was young and thought love
was all I would need, stones waited
like parents frugal with advice,
there to be taken for granted.
Change, even severance, their grey
planes suggested, never depletes
our mineral co-existence.
So says the catbird absorbed by a field
in his slick black and scarlet suit.
So says the long arrow of his solitary call.
The stones sit, speaking grey
reciting round, rough.
Repeating here. Sit here.
The sustenance drawn from the natural world is a central theme of Adin Thayer’s work. Through poetry she seeks to express and explore how nature’s power, beauty and lawfulness do and could affect how we behave as people. Her work is informed by experiences she has had growing up in the South, and working in Rwanda over the past 20 years. She also attends closely to the moments of everyday life when awareness flashes and ordinary experience expands.
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