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Prairie Schooner 80.2 (2006) 118-119

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Flickering, and: Indigo Bunting's Blue


The flicker I'd seen, its cap thumb-printed
Carmine-Miranda red, showed an instant
its chest, ordered grid of spots on white,
chest bar unstinted ink of black. It tricked
me: long-beaked, thick-necked, body not quite
wood pecker-like, its sides singed mauve
and mourning brown, I thought its traits broke
the species box, anomaly, a dove
impossible to be. Besides, flicker
implied tom-thumb sized doings that licked around
peripheries, like butterfly's liquored
vagaries, echoed. No such thing: this bird's
stolid: chest-spots medals in rows, back bronzed,
sheen cupric, he's adorned from inside,
a straight-shooter, influence-proofed. Orders
of priesthood and rhetorics of birds can't sound
his effulgence and pith. Unanchored,
he flickers in tree crown-edges and abandons
them. Behind him he leaves speed, vacancy
like a sleeve, and the verb he's made into bird. [End Page 118]

Indigo Bunting's Blue

Surreal blue, teal so deep it burns in
Medieval manuscripts' ingenious
letters – sinuous hounds, serpentine birds.
Or it fuels the yellow orange petals,
strung ovals of flame, that wreathe and kiss
the stove's brass rings as I cook, royal
blue threads like roots at the base. Chartres'
copper roof plates' oxidized turquoises
don't match it, nor the platelets of sky mirrored
in the indentations where rainwater's
settled on flat-topped stones in the sea-wall,
not even the crushed lapis that rings the queen's
black eyes in the triptych Pharoah honored
her in. What source yields it, what space or fjord?
Mary Moore is the author of The Book of Snow (Cleveland State UP). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, New Letters, Nimrod, and elsewhere.



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