Lori Shine
A Bird Calling for Spring to Come

come drench the world

but unlock her heart--

                                    —Chinese folk song


In a small move be defeated

make a big move

don’t think about defeat

change is

                 the equation

it looks like scrambled eggs

                        and embroidery,

scaffolding and lace


A red electron shakes the horizon

and our plane

                        like a tuna can

We are migrating together but that doesn’t mean we love each other

I loved everyone in the aquarium

with their wonderment hanging from their puffy vests


I can’t get any sense of what’s really going on,

all your reportage is so dramatically inflected

said my poetry to my poetry

It replied:

If I had more than a thread of feeling to follow,

don’t you think I’d tell you?


Can we think of our own thoughts the way

God thinks of us are we thoughts

in God’s head are we waves


A wave of how much I wanted

to curl up in your arms and say to you:

Cities phosphoresce orange on the shores of themselves

They are great reefs in the sea of dark forest

And the cities seem laid

in a scarcely-sewn quilt on the earth

And the universe feels draped but

not yet settled, and there seems

so much to fear.

            Let's not.


name the kinds of love.

Yours, mine. The dog’s. The sea.



(A Bird Calling for Spring to Come is the title of a traditional song from the Dong people of China. The epigraph of this poem is the translation of the song lyric.)