APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'Bird, Singing: Lucie Brock-Broido's Evocation of Animals Helping Humans

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH: 'Bird, Singing: Lucie Brock-Broido's Evocation of Animals Helping Humans

Doves, spiders, horses and leopards, a marmoset - all manner of creatures accompany Lucie Brock-Broido through the dazzling thicket of imagination and dense reality, the life both interior and exterior, of her latest collection, Stay, Illusion. In these poems, such animal spirits help us carry the burden of the human, and introduce other possibilities, other modes of travel or attitudes of being, as in "Bird, Singing," below. (Enjoy the printable broadside of this poem by clicking here, and watch for other broadsides throughout the month.)

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Bird, Singing


Then, every letter opened was an oyster

Of possible bad news, pried apart to reveal


The imperfect probable pearl of your death.


Then, urgent messages still affrighted me, sharp

Noises caused the birds not yet in flight to fly.


Then, this was the life of you.

All your molecules


Gathered for your dying off

Like mollusks clinging to a great ship's hull.


Ceremony of wounds, tinned,

Tiny swaddled starlings soaked in brine.


A bird, singing in his wicker cage, winds down.


Now, a trestle table lined with wooden platters

Neat with feathered wings of quail tucked-in.


Until you sever the thing, from self, it feels.

Thereafter it belongs to none.


You have nothing to be afraid of, anymore.


Outside Prague, I find you warm


Among the million small gold bees set loose

In April's onion show, quietly


Quietly, would you sing this back to me, out loud

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Excerpt from STAY, ILLUSION. Copyright (c) 2013 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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