passerines, passivity

   that your wingspan endured
   for an entire season of smothering me

   until I was a wide-open mouth
   grown into a fledgling's nest, my throat downed

   and ornamented with a single last flight of breath.


   that there was your flutter of
   hailfall. beating a litany into me,

   that I failed yieldingly and gossamer.
   that each time you struck a starling mid-flight

   from his decision to the front door. each time
   that I collided with a creased neck, stunned dumb

   in the knot and bough that was your right
   bicep. in your paradigm of a rough bark, that

   I was a failing of crushed beak. and the jay-
   blue that would decorate the gash of my right eye

   in hues of dead and degrees of dying at
   each dawn, yet another shiner. but still that

   there was the faint, warmth of an affection
   in your first glow of fistbreak as it cracked fast

   and fair across the horizon
   on my browline. hills painted the selfsame

   black and blue of a contusion. that I tried
   again and again to migrate at the first blister of

   daylight. but that I always wintered into a 6am hush.


   that I made a hollow in your
   sacrum, only when you weren't looking. for

   a birdbox way to escape the hot,
   blurred glaring of that hungover sunrise.

   but that a cold front of an open palm
   could always clip me on the breast, and

   that I became a finch at your slightest
   motion. that I became the warble from a crop, wet

   with the red of a cardinal. that I froze thin as a  
   feather at your touch, each daybreak an impossibility of

   thawing in your arms. and that I really thought that
   your body heat would keep me through the winter. but

   instead that I died in your hand. that a bent  
   cockcrow fell from me, just after the sound of a right

   hook puncturing the morning, an aspiration of buckshot.


   that you clasped me, closed
   like a swallow in your winterfists,  

   minus 10 degrees. of fingers
   that taught my throat of unbecoming. of

   your habit of faltering at the sight that was
   my face, mottled blue and tonic. at that thrushing

   of eyes hopeless, flitting upwards,
   popping smalled and black as a martyr on fire. that

   airless and convinced only of
   the porousness and air in my bones. that I proved

   the possibility of life in a chokehold.
   but that the cadence of my eggshell breath

   punctuated my lips with the morse code of
   a dead tongue, my chirp, my paean. to all the sacredness

   of mysteries that love and possess,
   including; that the duty to shelter a little life lies

   in the clip of a wing. that the  
   wisdom to end a suffering begins with the last

   snap of a neck.


   rebounding off your bottle
   and smack into the pane of your fist

   that I collided full throttle
   against your cigarette-cured glass

   and lapsed back again into your arms,
   a wreath of collarbone and clavicle laid more fragile

   than a crouch of eggs. that
   I was clutched more by choicelessness

   than by a poultice of your crushed
   hands, buried paler and more skeletal

   than all of the hatchlings that die
   of an open gullet by february. that fast and sore,

   perched on the cuff of your embrace,
   I was solved like a quiver of dissonant

   vocal chords, a morningbird's last attempt at song.