BONE BIRDS, MUSCLE BIRDS
Bone birds are so white they’re colorless,
self-starved, ugly, limbs held together with ribbons
of skin like tape, they’ll crack your binoculars.
Sometimes there’s a dead one on the sidewalk,
run over, no blood trail. Bone birds just snap
like bubble wrap and they’re gone, icy beaks cracked
wide open, wings drawn up like sails.
Muscle birds live for the silvery bath water
beneath the laundry line outside and swell like sponges,
absorbing, sucking, voices sweetened by sugar water,
honey, crumbs from last night’s spongecake thrown out
then resurrected. Muscle birds are mostly blue or violet but
my dad’s dad saw a red one on Christmas once,
nestled into a pine tree and glowing like a lantern.