Wednesday, May 30, 2012

At the Academy of Golden Birds Or When You're Older You'll Learn The Alphabet

at first I heard them singing
in my dreams: the golden birds.

when you’re older Grandmother said
you'll know what it means;
you’ll go to school
to learn about the golden birds.
I went.
with my plaid satchel.
the walls were bare.
chalk letters over and over
on the black board almost fluttered
but the stories were always about

something else.

day after day I waited sorting apples from oranges
cuttng out paper leavestill waiting wasn’t a thing I could do
not even with waxed paper,
pressing the flowers.

when will we learn
about the golden birds I asked?
coming in one day from recess
from dust-clouded running like the
gold horse of the plains I reigned so slightly in.

the teacher grew red faced
though she hadn’t been running.
not explaining anything
that’s what we’re doing.
sit – down.

I never saw them there, my golden birds
not even kept in cages by the pencil sharpener
or  beside the aqua water fountains
where I would have gone to feed them gladly, pineapple cake.
upside-down at least on Wednesdays.

oh they should have arisen like their four and twenty
brethren from the King’s own pie…
but they couldn’t live at school.
in combination lockers.

maybe I should have stayed at home
where they came so easily
before I even learned to spell them
flock after flock to my Grandmother’s rose bush
without even being asked, nicely
mary angela douglas 29 may 2012