"Tonight Is a Night Without Birds" by Geri Doran

The sky fell open to a map of the constellations.
Earlier the snowmelt reconfigured the field.
I tried to describe it, but the field transformed
into the plains of the soul pressed flat.

Fierceness and moonlight, I thought I’d write,
but the stars outshine the moon and the brightest
star, at any rate, is on the ground and a continent
away. My brightest star is a continent away.

Looking up from the cobbled path is a swath
of darkness darker than any Portland night,
I see a skyful of nightbirds, but none of them’s singing.
Like Orion, they’re keeping an obstinate silence.

Across the continent, Orion is probably drenched.
Anyway, it is unlikely my love is watching the sky.
A star-flush sky makes the earth seem flat.
Dryness and flatness are the ways a field inhabits a body.

I do not know much about fields, apart
from this amassment of dry grass leaning down.
I know about starry skies. I know silent birds.

Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press from Resin: Poems by Geri Doran. Copyright © 2005 by Geri Doran.