The secret is
not to be afraid, to
pour the salt, letting your wrist
be free—there is almost
never too much; it sits on top of the skin like a
little crystal casket. Under, the bird might
imagine another life, one in which it is grateful
for pleasing, can smell
itself cooking—the taste
of carrots, onions, potatoes stewed
in its own juice—and forget
the dreams of blood
coursing out of its throat like a river.


Maybe it’s a bat’s wings
at the corner of your eye, right
where the eyeball swivels
into its pocket. But when
the brown of your eye turns
where you thought the white saw,
there’s only air & gold light,
reality—as your mother defined it—
(milk/no milk). Not for years
did you learn the word longing,
and only then did you see the bat—
just the fringe of its wings
beating, its back in a heavy
black cloak.