Making Instruments from Bird Skeletons

Making Instruments from Bird Skeletons – Poem

Stephen Frech

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