Making Instruments from Bird Skeletons – Poem
What better bones for wind to pass through
than the sparrow’s ulna, femur of meadowlarks?
What flute pitches higher than the hollowed rib
of a mourning dove? Auger holes to finger
and valves to stop. Take this pipe, fine
and sharp as a syringe’s needle, to your lips
slowly or you’ll prick yourself before the bone
can teach your mouth to whistle.
You will call whole flocks from migration.
Owls will turn their heads, open the slits of their eyes
briefly, then close them. All the thrush will quiet,
robins halt their hunt for worms in the grass.
Jays will hear your breath stir the song of dead things.
And if birds don’t know anger, they will invent it.
Stephen Frech’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Willow Review, and others3
COPYRIGHT 1999 Fairleigh Dickinson University
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group