Birdsong / the pattern that repeats and repeats
Alycia Pirmohamed | Poetry
The root of this dream is my first walk
amongst true oxlip,
pollen stretching beyond human sight.
A forest knows the relationship
between art and time––
how time’s needles point in all directions,
before the tree line is formed.
Inheritance is the product of doubling,
of spring’s return,
when the herb’s long corolla mouth
slips into every
loosely closed memory––
even those memories that glitch
and contract, attempting to feel so small
that their injury become
another woman’s rain,
almost unnoticed as it catches
on a face turned away––
water falls in a rhythm so erratic
it is as if time is undoing itself.
Why, then, keep returning to the rains?
The water that arranges itself
in an animal’s mouth
or else penetrates the skin.
The measure that sinks into the loam, less
of an assertion than it is a reminder
The root of this dream, a dream
where the forest guide
looks just like the self, like a woman
deserving of love,
is a history etched into birdsong. Birdsong
the pattern that repeats and repeats
for territorial purposes, a song that
asserts I am home
in a kind of biological sense.
The past is a question
that will not stop sprouting. The past is
an altered forest pathway––
look again and see only green inflection,
Turn away from the root, after all, and fall
into the dream. It is a kindness
to step back from the pain,
to let the inherited memory collapse
like April collapses into spring.
Let it be eaten
like fog by the sun, which is also a heart,
which is also a stanza.
Alycia Pirmohamed is the author of the poetry collection Another Way to Split Water (YesYes Books & Polygon Books). She received an MFA from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and she currently teaches on the MSt. Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. Alycia is the recipient of awards including the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and others.