Poetry / June 2014 (Issue 24)

A Contingent of Birds

by Daryl Qilin Yam

a variation on Jack Spicer

Two swans flew overhead
And I didn’t reach for my camera. All of us
Are running towards
The end of the world, it seems
And I can’t do anything to stop it.

Rain threatens. Hell is there
At the end of the year. There is a whole platoon of geese
And a whole section of swans, all
Waiting in the wings.
A whole contingent of birds.
And yet the gander sits there
In hiding
Stiff, utterly

We waited around: for someone to come out of hiding
For someone to come out and surrender. But nothing
Came. As if there were nothing
Left in the woods, but what nobody wanted to escape from
—but we all know that isn’t true. For the gander calls
Alone in the wood, bashing its head off
Over no fish, no other gander,
No water.

From amidst how many distant trees
Are they listening? To the call
Of the lone gander? For it breaks
Upon us, like a wave from
Every warm ocean.

Echo each song from its throat!
Bellow each sound!
The call of flight
As they fall away from our mouths!
Take all your friends and I'll take mine.
For we are coming at an end;
To the end.
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
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