Gary Fincke, "The Properties of Birds"




Sometimes, I’ve learned, the eyes of birds 

weigh more than their brains.  Sometimes 

their bones weigh less than their feathers.


Sometimes, while touching her face, 

I became a boy who believed

her eyes exclaimed, “Yes, go on,”


because, sometimes, undressed, she felt

so light her body lifted

toward me, extraordinary.


And sometimes the eyes of birds

fail them during flight, windows

surprising them to wreckage


the way, just once, she became

an etched inscription on a plaque—

she was, she loved, she would have—


a brief installation of loss

in the corridor for longing

through the past’s private museum


where light is absorbed and desire 

interrupted by the stunning

deceleration of flight.


Gary Fincke's recent poems appear in New England Review, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review.