Keynote for March 1

The silent Sunday sky rains feathers now—
sudden robins riot down the high blue afternoon
a storm maybe three hundred maybe more.
Mexico, si maybe Mexico saves your life again
maybe sends them al norte—pechicolorados
curving down to winter trees on slate wings of
memory and heat—nameless lives wild beyond doubt.
White rings circling their bright eyes, they perch
rest, stare, chitter incessantly, their voices calling
to each dormant bud on cold and empty limbs.

Waiting, still, alone below the university hill,
why are you so encantado now? Empty streets,
blank windows shining in full sun, no cars. Where
is everyone this magnifico deserted afternoon?
Think of those red hearts beating a thousand miles
through mapless sky to find specific earth again.
This circle coming true today started in the Pleistocene—
two million years ago and who are we? Diga me?
Think of their memory—Rio Grande, gable, hidden
crotch of tree, blue shells opening to light, round
crowded tight apartment of mud and grass, of cherries,
housecat terrorists, sweet red worms in lawns
a place to sing the long light up and down again.

Porque amo este momento? Diga me, amor,
diga me, porque? Porque?
Why do I love this
moment when robins come from Mexico again?
Tell me, love, tell me, why, why—in any language
that you know has wings.

George Venn
March 1, 1998
Published in "West of Paradise", Wordcraft of Oregon.

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