Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Mynah


Forty feet in the air,
the stob of a flowering ohi’a
bows under a mynah.


Mynahs, their wings black-&-white, 
black-&-white, strobe the soccer fields, 
scanning for the epileptics’ team bus.


A flock of seven ducks shares one mind. 
Seven mynahs pretend fourteen.


Every region has its rowdy –
mockingbird, magpie, or mynah;
playboy, bully, or lout – 
ornamental gardens with broken statuary
may be granted more than one.


Downtown, I watch them rise with alarm, 
settle with hops & swaggers. At home 
nothing larger than ladybugs fly,
aside from cardinals & pigs.


Unseen, the jungle whistles 
with honeycreeper, scrubland 
fosters nene. Then settlers come 
with talking mynahs, chili-fed 
to etch their naturally slit tongues 
for finer articulation.


O ill-paid inspector,
How does my apple evade you?
Will you be relieving a widow of her potpourri
while mynahs swoop through the air space
to nab the core from my hand?


I’m selling my air gun, bought years ago
but never used, the barrel now rusty.
Rod will pay $40 to shoot the hundreds of 
bandoliered mynahs looting his money crops – 
mangosteen, rambutan, lychee.


When mynahs stand in a downpour,
it doesn’t mean they can’t fly or don’t care,
it means they don’t feel it.


The gutter along the ocean side of our house
amplifies the morning fusillade
stepped off by mynahs.


She hears outside the window
a sporadic tapping.
Tapping back in Morse code
she begs the mynah’s forgiveness,
promises lacquered boxes, nacreous collar studs,
yards & yards of gold braid.


Ringed by contenders, one mynah spatchcocks
another, dip & peck, dip & peck. Which
yellow eye blisters red?


Mynahs are not like teru teru
in Argentina. They do not startle up at night
from ground nests or shriek from the branches of trees.
Mynahs dissolve two hours after sunset 
& reassemble eleven minutes before dawn.

1 comment:

  1. To date, this is my all time favorite. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful poem!