Jawad’s Flock in Mohammedia

A patch of sunlight on the wall     thin shadows
like worn nets or the snagged stockings 
of a voracious lover impair that patch.

Our shoes tap the marble stairs down-down.
The flock suddenly silent.
But I heard them last night.

Thought I heard them but the packed train 
that evening may have induced delirium.
I stood for five hours flattening myself 

on dirty windows so the beggars could pass.
But I’m begging for that sound now     the pensive 
parakeets in steel cages.

Who is the stranger smelling of lake     shells?
The only named bird is white hiding 
in a wood box with spotted eggs.

That sound so much like the breeze 
against palm fronds in the park where we walked. 
I saw azure parakeets flying 

to the severed steeple then to you. 
What returns to the broken?
What circles about that which beats?

The solitary so against that flock 
flapping as if one being. 
We are against it.

We are the solitary moving in solitude. 
The wind surrounds.
Later your hands through her hair 

as the flock circles near the ceiling. 
You circle her.
They are circling as they sing.

Sunlight over everything as they sing. 
You wait for another song.

Read “Roses and Jasmine,” a piece of short fiction by Myronn Hardy, from this same issue.

Myronn Hardy is the author of five books of poems, most recently Radioactive Starlings, published by Princeton University Press. His stories have been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. He is currently working on his first novel.