Monday, December 19, 2016

Company B on Ashburner Street - Day 18 - Sara Dowse

He lives in a tower,
to be clear, an eyrie
yet more inclined to play
than prey.
I call him and his fine feathered mates
our very own Company B,
and if I could 
I would toot
a bugle for him.

There was a man like him
in a movie, a fine actor
once a trapeze artist
played him,
finding elbow room
in a prison,
his friends being
creatures who fly.


Memories are birds:
A rock, a mist,
through which a sharp ray,
an arc of light, shone -
rescuing the ramparts,
the toothlike turrets,
from San Francisco's 
Ferlinghetti fog.

Now a man I know
here on Ashburner Street
feeds his company:
the magpies 
mince meat
off his sunburnt fingers,
while avocado green 
come for pumpkin seeds
and the jackass waits
for cashews.

A tower, an eyrie,
but actually a unit,
you could hardly say
it’s so small.
Yet up on the rooftop,
from his turret, they hear him
and they soar to him
from the palm trees,
the figs and frangipani,
a swirling mess of yellow-nosed
starlings and wild-eyed butcher birds,
cockatoos white as albumen,
yoked as he is to the routine
of feeding them,
all of them
his avian regiment,
even a standoff owl or two.

And me,
I watch in wonder,
from my window,
following their flapping
as I would my memories
to the man who spent years
in Alcatraz
yet knew
how it was to be free.


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