Lift by Patria Rivera

Poem title: Lift Poet name: Patria Rivera Poem Begins: 1. Prolegomena: What the bird says The bird wishes to say beforehand (before you are absorbed by the sound of the rapidly beating lath and strings of its wings), that what is real is sometimes just supposition and hearsay: Flight is a catenoid unloosed, agitating arcs, parabolas, gauzily pottering in syncopated taps on tapered toe, and round the wing—air’s push and pull, a spinning fan set to calibrate soars and glides, lightness and stiffness. 2. Found Found the bird knee-deep and exculpatory, embedded in the man-made island paradise with its hunting grounds now razed, and the tongueless smallmouth bass and carp in a warren of lakes and canals taking the bait as guards fly-fish near the army barracks. In this summer of fitful waiting, Chinook fly, black hawks hover high and low over the city’s northern edge, past the humming bees and recreant turret gunners. 3. The invasion of termites Termites simmer in the trenches as crows fly over, tracking the path of dogs let loose in the hills. The king of the mountain forests has confirmed that he would encourage and expect the local chieftains to help remove the parasites which threaten the enduring mountain passes and the stability of his domain. He has also ordered troop deployment in armoured carts to dig out the militant termites while people wait for what they have to say. 4. Last sighting The hysterical pillage of the impoverished towns is widely documented. The birds descended in circles in a mane of brutal darkness, rotor blades ripping easterly clouds, plundering hills in their relentless pursuit, the birds of prey probing their theories of extinction, the taxonomy of wounds and bruises of extirpation. And soon they would be gone, bacteria and fungi and megafauna, the bipedal species last sighted retreating in the battered digestive tracts of the mountains. End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Patria Rivera First published in Puti/White by Patria Rivera (Frontenac House Press, 2005). Patria Rivera is a Canadian poet, writer, and editor. She has published four poetry anthologies and two chapbooks, including Puti/White (2005), The Bride Anthology (2007), BE (2011), and The Time Between (2018). Her first poetry collection, Puti/White, was a finalist for the Canadian Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Rivera’s poetry is featured in Oxford University Press’s Perspectives in Ideology, and in Elana Wolff’s Implicate me: Short Essays on Reading Contemporary Poems.