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,

syllables echoing
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
so distorted

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
of elsewheres.

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.