Conversation with the Sun Bittern Poem
It preens on a root at the edge of the igarapo.
Light lights its lower mandible and brick-red eye.
I say, “why am I talking to you?”
“I don’t know,” it says, and spears a snail. Its head
is striped, its back mottled.
I tell it about the drawer with the false bottom in
my mother’s desk.
I tell it about the letter I haven’t finished, to a
person who gave me some diamonds.
“I know all that,” it says, and watches a minnow in among
the mangrove roots.
“You know what you must do,” it says, “you must stop…”
“Breeding miniature horses,” I say.
“They are useless,” it says.
I watch it lift one foot, and then the other. A drop
of water glistens on the tip of its bill.
“I know,” I say, “but sometimes I am afraid.”
first published in My Shining Archipelago (Yale Series of Younger Poets, vol. 92)