The Lyrebird, Hidden. His Dance, Hidden. His Wish
to dance, also hidden. But he will get the girl.His featherless, out of the egg pre-wish to dance hidden too.His hidden hidden. His pre-egg in the nest, hidden. Its yolk and whitenot yet yolk and white, equally hidden.A song the lyrebird steps to and into. By heart and habit.But hidden. Ditto that wild footloose, the very thingalso hidden from us, the thing famous and forlorn and ecstatic.His mimic song, an old sound effect record from the '50s, a camera'sclick then its whirl, a braking truck, a car alarm, a chainsawplus twenty other birds screaming. Properly: redoes them.His sound bites, the more worldly the betterto wow-woo her. Under trees. On the little mound he's clearedto dance. The way ahead circled by thorns and, higher up, stars.How small must one beto be hidden? How large to pass through larger things hidden—sky by clouds, rain by darkness or dawn,hopelessness by the wish for what's next and next.Please. Don't think fire, not yet. Or smoke, flight, the dark all daya kind of pandemic. Too early or too late in those woods.But we saw a posted alert for the is: this bird can danceand sing his way into that mythic throbof lady-business. Some resourceful someonemade it precise, and only slightly pornographic the arrow (this way!)to where he-of-the-one-track-mind might stand and hidein the voice of such worldly things.The wooden notice nearly sang what he's up to, the bird's danceand song, his fabulous hind feathers to hypnotize the very onewho maybe thought all along she'd have some other fate.Hidden but about to not be, hidden but ancient unto the day.No, we never saw him. Or her, for that matter. But me, a life member,the World Congress of the Disappointed, I understand hope.As in, who knew art was involved? It's a sign.
Copyright © 2021 by Marianne Boruch.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Forthcoming in BESTIARY DARK from Copper Canyon Press October 2021.
Marianne Boruch’s ten books of poems include The Anti-Grief and Cadaver, Speak (Copper Canyon, 2019, 2014); three essay collections, most recently The Little Death of Self (Michigan’s Poets on Poetry Series), and a memoir, The Glimpse Traveler (Indiana, 2011). Her forthcoming Bestiary Dark from Copper Canyon is the result of her five months in Australia on a Fulbright, observing the astonishing wildlife there. Other honors include the Kingsley-Tufts Award for The Book of Hours (Copper Canyon, 2011), plus fellowships/residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and two national parks (Denali and Isle Royale). Her work appears in The New York Review of Books, Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere. Boruch taught at Purdue University for 33 years, going rogue and emeritus in 2018. She continues on faculty in the low-residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson College.
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