Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Elusive Alchemist

by Laura Kaminski

I bought a guide to local
birds, thought I might learn
to recognize a feathered
phrase or two. It is
a rainbow codex, organized
by plumage, begins with
redwing blackbird’s flashy
epaulets, woodpeckers’ helmets,
then proceeds with cardinal-
and robin-red, works through
to shades of jays and bunting-
indigo.

But it cannot guide me
now, three hours after
midnight, searching in
the darkness for a fiddler
and his echo. I am far
beyond the limits
of the rainbow. I am out
without a flashlight
and the moonlight keeps
its secrets, it won’t reveal
sources, and I cannot see
the whippoorwill.