We lay there, nodding, playing the old game.
Thrush, I said, eyes opened against sleep.
Mother named us after birds—Dove, Starling, Sparrow, Wren—to keep
together. “Her little chicks.” She called; we called back.
We were young;
we chased each other under
her skirt. And when we grew,
we grew together.
We sat in the branches (kneecaps touching)
and tried to name as many birds
as barbules on a fallen feather’s vane.
Dodo sewn to hummingbird.
Ostrich, though born half-osprey. Then my plummeting
Hawk, chasing her
Kiwi. There were
so many in the way—each leaf a
wayward face. Every name pricked me
I thought, “i i i i i,”
the slim needle of a beak opening to receive a worm,
Lost, I had no answer. Nest
elopement the only way.
Ibis, she tossed me, re-knotting name
to name. We lay there.
The old game.