Small Flock

for Nani

What is it keeps you flying
(a thousand miles in all, a garland
adorning the earth) when one of you falls,
a scarlet flower upon his breast,
when one’s hurt wing becomes a rose
of white upon the plains of snow below?
Oh collection of rapidly beating hearts,
you of the circular journey, of the yes
& the no, the relentless diminishment,
the continuous, arduous joining, you
of abandoned nests, ragged, raucous, returning,
you exhausted & beautiful,
unmitigated, migrating crown,
what mystery makes you
hold yourself above
this lowdown earth?

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