for A., 75

What are we what are we? we are birds
showering the splendid air and we are
a million-strong wingbeat
migrating heaven to heaven we are too
the occasional soloist perched on a twist
of this-and-that and we are
none of this all of these can you not see
us? can you not see? can you not
make us out – here – in your mind?

I am old and my back is gone. I was never
not there and when you came flying
I too sky-flew I sky-flew too
one of the numberless mountebanks of the air
with you I knew the past and the sails of the future
filled as I found your purest form. And now
you are collected about me and no-one
disarms the breath of fright that seethes that breathes
the days of woman are numbered

We are you we are you. Mistress of our bird-form
word-form currencies of dark and light
that play and exchange the highest the lowest
switch-swerve questions the nearest the furthest
drift-pattern ways of the air we are you we
are knowledge we are
coin from a great purse and
golden and quick in your breath in your mind
we wheel dive spring your poem-thoughts in the sky.

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