Say five men carry a sixth from the birches.
He is thin from his night inside the river.
Someone has pushed his wrists through his belt
so it seems he has been out gathering blue flowers.
Someone is shouting the richer gospels.
I remember a woman leaning on the window,
thinking death had loosed its bird in the house.
I remember the bird fell on the third day
and I had to line my hands with a nest of old straw.
That night they found a boy in the square
like a foal, smelling of onion grass.
Someone had let a black swan
into the barn where the boy was kept
and in the moonlight we saw dark plumage in his fists.
Say you were the wild gift, how it had quarreled
and come near. Say you had been torn.