DEAR BLACKBIRD II

BY JANE SPRINGER

Dear Blackbird,

The only thing that made sense was to fall in love with a carpenter who could build a house upside down out of straw & standing on one foot—

afterall, a scarecrow is just remnant stuffing for old clothes—it took a man like that to make of me, something new.

I am a house now, delicate timber to see through—you are the attic, fat with trunks enclosing:

Seven years of famine, Ithaca & the map disclosing which channel you & I are to arrive through.

Or else you are the attic soaked with light from one window & there are no trunks here— but a clean pine floor & one small, upright piano against the far wall.

For there is an attic in every blackbird.

For every skilled carpenter there is one house to be built upside down out of straw & standing on one foot.

Which explains why the attic opens out to a jungle of elephant ear & red orchids. I have never seen anything so rare

as what the love of a carpenter can do.

This is not a letter for rebirth. The carpenter & I made a son with skin & hair as dark & fathomless as you.

He walks beneath the evening & says: Look, Orion is wearing a new belt—as if the very stars are, each night, new.

Which is something Ovid understood:

How wheat rising from a field may, in a single day, take on the form of brothers who love—& yet by dusk, turn their swords on each the other.

Or how by the deception of dreams one kingdom falls & all the time in that world is lost—

Blackbird, away with truth. No carpenter ever built a house that was not his church.

There’s a war outside & a fat new box of kleenex in my every pew—Come,
join us—for the body repairs itself & there is much worship & choiring left to do.

Truly as was & as
ever will be—

Scarecrow