If you think this is a puzzle, you’re mistaken.

I was going to make a table, so you’d trust me,
I was going to lay all my information on the table like a firearm
and keep my hands in view.

The table would have looked like this:





[an occurrence]


[details to represent the occurrence]


[the significance the occurrence has gained through evaluation]


The birds mean something if dead.

My dead-bird affinity owes
mythology, where birds rip each other like sheets

and an interpreter field-sketches
the were of those birds into words.

Sheet: a bird
lead feathers.

I bird because
Jung monopolized dream.

The tally: over a thousand in over five years—

one thousand divided by five equals two hundred
equals over half the year, bird-days.

How does a bird wing factor: it counts as a bird-day.
When I say bring your arm to bed
you extend the invitation to the not-arm of you.

My body is less polite.

One mouth imitates a cardboard airplane wing
and mine, a minnow-shaped cabin.

Then, pressing. A pressing-into.

Resistance facilitates flight.

Two of my birds are not real.
As in birds that have been.
If not being, I say dead, for evaluation’s sake.

One entry: hallelujah, like mallard, or robin.

Hallelujah, ceramic & blue, for happiness.
For housewarming.

Feathers do not shard.
And you do not avoid the feather
as you might glass as you back out of the parking lot.

Roadwork revises the story of our arrival.
Then, I-40. Now a detour through a small Texas town.

You rewind the mixed tape you made for Xmas.
Tom Waits, and the diner again,
us—pondering the ransacked nest
balanced in my uterus.

This birdlessness.

I apologize if Xmas offends you.
I would have written out Christmas
but it is Xmas in my log because
very little space between margins—
these are not child-bearing margins.

Winter obscures birds for obvious reasons.
I’ve compromised my location haven’t I.

In a clinic tv placement determines migration.

A talk show skips so you know it’s recorded. The talk show repeats.
Topic: When Faith Saved Your Life.

It’s meant to be a kindness from the staff—
easier to draw blood if the patient’s relaxed.

Apostrophes relax words.
Thus the recliner shape of them.

i is my needle inside bird
I draw meaning.

This vile act tires me.
So I’ll listen.

You wrap windchimes in tissue to illustrate:
it’s not no sound, but that I can’t hear it.

I see your point.

My sympathy’s with fabric during the hem:
point-sick, and pinned.

Listen—this bird thing is no joke.

But I’ll ease you in with bird jokes, made up in bed:

A bird stores sugar? In a toucan-ister.
A bird exclaims at the dollar store? Cheep.

A face interprets longitude as mouth.

Mood fillets these human-feigning countries.
Happiness, Sadness—which north, which south.

Laughter strips my face, and the cargo of teeth
is no longer hidden.

Do an inventory check if you want, but I’ll just tell you:
twenty-eight. I slide my tongue over them
when I get nervous.

I feel most confident about my pigeon-on-its-back assessment.

Within two days of the sighting, there’s a phone call
from a man, and the man is frantic.

The man is not always the same, but the man is always frantic.

Neither is the man always frantic about the same thing.

Keep in mind I use the loosely here,
though frantic is strict.

Most recently: you need to get tested, so do.

My assignment: Number Eleven—and Number Eight a few seats away
in keeping with real numbers.

I’m a red light she eyes
before wading out to make a right turn.

If Number were surname
I might understand
her insistence
to connect.

Beside me before her body—her voice:
excuse me, it’s just, you look like such a nice…

as if niceness is an exemption.
The laugh track played to mask the fact
an audience doesn’t react.

A statistics book asserts fifty is the minimum sample size
for accurate hypotheses.

One eye witness is enough for conviction.

I knew the raven skull was a rarity, so
a Ziploc bag.

On rocks and from a distance, a raven skull and a hamburger wrapper
are not so different.

Oregon Coast, near Devil’s Elbow.

Oregon’s Coast morgues much of the devil’s anatomy
and accoutrements—his Punch Bowl’s there too.

If this makes you uncomfortable, say Bible Belt.
Say it five times fast—a salute
with the gun assembled inside tongue.

Superstitions insist, raven synonymous with ominous
but death recasts a body as bone.
The bird decomposes into salutation: ave (Latin).

Its brain does not shine through the skull.

An eyelid’s the original lampshade, lowered to create mood.
Sad is this much eye.

An eye aces this game.
My iris puts its nose in the corner when I’m guilty.

The metal handrail is warm enough
to adjust snow to after-a-slight-rain—

why aren’t you a metal handrail, or better yet
why aren’t mistakes warmed to the swipe.

Pigeon-Not-On-Its-Back is how I knew I’d lose you.

You can’t not see a dead bird after you have seen it:
that defies the laws of eye.

The third time the ring fell in the toilet
convinced me it was too loose to wear.

The amber ring from that small Czech town
with that Japanese tea house
with that menu I wanted to steal.

There are various ways to remember things.
Photograph is specific within the various.

We laid on our backs with the lens focused on a high window.
Enough shade to create the story of a body,
of a hand reaching for an asterisk of snow.

An asterisk between us:

the symbol used to mark a structure believed to have existed, but un-
recorded, or recorded incorrectly.

I never said I would get this right,
the log is an attempt.

See—how it’s on the right margin.

A phonebook exacerbates fate:

there are a lot of same names—you are just one proton
floating in the element of your name.
If the number tried first is the right one—.

A safe’s combination is superfluous if the cash is on the counter.

Carelessness a walk signal someone waits for.

If you think Pigeon-Not-On-Its-Back = loss
then you’re missing something.

Loss is not consistently good
or consistently bad:

I lost my car keys [situation: hurry]

She lost fifteen pounds [situation: a doctor’s recommendation]

He lost a tooth [situation: tooth fairy]

He lost a tooth [situation: fist]

It equals loss + this-much-eye [the sad-width, remember].

You tell me mayonnaise is the only reliable thing
and I want to be oily and white and in your mouth
so you’ll stop doubting me.

The house was made of wood so the Christmas tree
seemed a funny idea. Like displaying pinheads of sand
behind a glass frame.

Perhaps is the bang that alerts tradition out of its starting position
and around the track.

Yes, the angel does look more luminous
with branches bare.

The difference between a twig and a branch
is the mouth that carries each.

Desire deals with wingspan—
that it has a bigger or smaller, but which is it,
I always get this wrong

it matters for binocular adjustment.

The first time I saw the Grand Canyon was Thanksgiving.

A day after seeing a red-chested bird
I refer to by color and size
because I can’t figure its name.

Size: rice bowl (the one with fish etchings where earrings are kept)

I’ve concluded Red-Chested/Rice Bowl a holiday bird.

I know you will ask so I’ll save you the trouble:
turkeys are not in the log if they are in the oven.

Otherwise the grocery store deli would be too easy to manipulate.
You could never take the log seriously.

Buses and RVs that go through the Grand Canyon’s guardrails
and can’t be removed are spray-painted
to safeguard the view.

A bald eagle nest nine feet across and twenty-seven feet deep.

You hold—no I cannot fathom your hold.

The last time it happened we agreed it never happened.
The maintenance of affairs is a lack of specifics.
A specific like love. Like buttonquail.

Does it really matter
if the sun is the cause of light
or light’s culmination.

If enough happens enough it becomes always:
the pothole on 4th when it fills with rain.

We walk there to be splashed—it takes three cars.

The pygmy owl from the toy bin at the museum
I named heartache and balanced on the lamp
on the nightstand

so I could say
heartache looks over my bed
I wake to heartache.

I name our cats after punctuation marks for similar reasons.

Or verbs.
Come here, verb.

A verb gifts the porch with baby sparrows.
Usually near dusk.

I learn you like a motion detector.

It’s my idea of faith.
Freeze a goldfish in its bowl, then thaw it
on the Formica counter.

The bowl leaves a water-shaped hoofmark:

it’s a lesson from horror films—if there’s no body,
the body’s made it.

Give it fifteen minutes.
Fins cat-door, and swim paws in.

Fish mean less to me than dead birds—
might is too needy, clinging to its verb-host.

The way cold holds teeth hostage by the root.

The way you shiver like teeth

like a wire made electric by the exit of birds.