I have been trying to identify you by color and song.
The unidentifiable, the inconsistent. Covert.

I’ll be flipping pages.
The same way I do when I hear a particular bird call,
For the first time each spring.
What was that?
Chickadee? Oriole? Warbler? Sparrow?
I cant remember.

My memory can be jogged by a
Cheer! Cheer!
Hi Sweetie! Hi Sweetie!
A flash of bright red or
Black and white peeking from between the leaves.

For you, no research to refer to.
There is no guide to confront or organize.
And if there was… how many editions would there be?

I can’t remember.
Does It matter?

This time when I spy
You, you are gray and mottled. Dulled,
When once you were exuberant and bright.
You sing in cascades about your exuberance
And brightness.
I still see only dullness, but I can possibly be convinced.

Perhaps you are my mockingbird,
Playing tricks,
And you have picked up the identities
Of every other bird you meet.
You will string together a variety of calls
That belong to someone else,
Many someones.

And when I inquire, tell me that no sound was ever made
in the first place.

© 2020 s. marie martin

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