The Year I First Heard Birdsong

One night a neighbor in a tree loosed fireworks into my window. I held the small explosions in my throat, drank the pinwheel colors. I had been deaf until that bird peeled away my ear’s veils. Now sounds tumble through the day in enameled boxes: food, sex, predators. Luminous curlicues arabesque in my head, reverberant, and feather my ankles, narrating the instant, looping into a lariats of noise that snag a cloud above a tree. In the pause I can hear pillows whisper as I sink into their bodies, ending the day praising my narrow perch.

Rachel Dacus is a poet and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area whose books include Gods of Water and Air, a collection of poetry, prose, and drama; and the poetry collections Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau. Her writing has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Drunken Boat, Prairie Schooner, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Read more at