The Weak Calligraphy of Songbird Cages

Jamie O'Hara Laurens

Starved for trees

              they find the empty lot

                            and climb the fence. No-

They peer through the links, intent,

                             and pour their bodies through,

               land at eye level

with hay in the shape of a bell––

skyscrapers, eschalons of grasses

           striving for height.

Here they are floricultured,


            they lurk over nests of spiders

            & liken to fire & folktalk.

Shoppingcart wheels rattle on by.

           They sing O, and Over the day.

           Your hair is the color of the wheat fields, little one.

           This is the finite garden.

           Three walls and one fence––

            finite. But a garden. 

A burlesque monarch surveys street awnings.

A cage becomes calligraphy.

Hope is a guitar string unrolled on the sidewalk.

Fear nothing, even undoing. 

                             Undo us, undo, O garden.

                 Unstrung us, undone.  


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