Love on the Precipice Ode

Jan Carroll

You know the killdeer
will feign a broken wing,
that when you near and lean in
with the first-aid kit of “I am here”
tacked on your sleeve it will seem
to suddenly heal and hurry away
distracting you from approaching
its nest of possibilities hatching
off in the wavering grass.

You know it won’t be that much
of a stretch for you to learn
the bird sign language for “damaged too,”
and do the dance you later find out
you already knew
that could be taken
as territory breach or the suggestive display
of mating ritual, this-is-crazy
wrestling with this-is-great.

You know the spill of this here
will be one part the Nile flooding
desert into farmland, crops green and young
springing up to feed a nation, and one part your car
swerving off a bridge in the storm, you breaking
the window to get out, swimming
for shore, almost drowning.
So delicious. So precarious. This is how
it always starts.

Jan Carroll works in local and regional publishing. She is a poetry reader for the forthcoming local literary journal Barstow & Grand. Her chapbook River is available at The Local Store (205 N. Dewey St., downtown Eau Claire).