Bird by Lloyd Aquino

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That night, he and she were paperback pigeons grown fat

on seven-dollar condiments and moonshine left to pool

outside the Orpheum.  This was that other Broadway,

the one more than three thousand smidgeons distant

from those goddamn snapshot touristas, those kicky stilettos,

the ne’er-do-wells and their savior faire.  No, here,

the filth was still unapologetic, thank you very kindly.


The lot of them huddled in self-made corners, resting

their hollow bones, blathering away about the weather system,

the cut of his jib, the dirt on her down.


Then those strings sawed right through them,

and silhouettes sliced the air into evening pieces,

laying them evenly to build wall after wall after wall,

the carbonized brick-and-mortar hallucination held in place

only by the sweetest saintly whistling, the kind that

tunes heartstrings and leaves mouths crying for no reason,

the kind that leaves no space to blink or boast or breathe.


And all of it came in such perfect undulations, whirligigging

like attention-starved hawks, every molecule floating

into higher elevation to scrape the paint off the neon skyline,

expunging every last particle cloud of stardust and boulevard,

broken-back dreams.  The kind lovebirds can get off on

if the floodlights hit the salt in their skin just right.


Before he and she knew it, they were airlifted into a revelation,

wings bending to the shape of caving in, concave and floating

on the thousand exhalations releasing simultaneously.  Finally.

So he and she, with names like Iteration and Reverb, Lyric and Staccato,

hovered in circles, reluctant to go to ground,

carrying those violin strings in their jaws

as they searched for somewhere to put down their bedding.


AUTHOR BIO: Lloyd Aquino teaches English at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California.  His poems have been published in magazines like Turbulence, Carnival, Underground Voices, Chaffey Review, and Suisun Valley Review.  He lives in Ontario, California, with his dog Charlie.