Skip to content →

Like a Magpie

When she comes running over like that. Like an apology. Like she

must. When she seems frightened. When she seems wounded. When

she seems to have been bullied. In a park. Just like this one. She’d been

showing off. Like a high yellow song. Like now. But still. She seems

fragile & thin. In the gray cloak of winter. When she should go.

Maybe start all over. Where she started. Where it all first sugared.

& turned black. Cavernous. Cavity. An exaggeration. Just a little dip.

A cut of air. Like a mistake. What we say to one another. Stays out

there. What we do also. An apology—

is not an eraser. Maybe a filling. A cover. For words spoken in haste.

Or maybe. With purpose. With fear & anger. If she should go now.

How would her flock know to find her? With a new family? With

purpose? With fear & anger? Where she started. Like a magpie out

of orbit. Dismissed. All that energy. All those slicked-back feathers.

They looked like no feathers at all. Naked. Out of purpose. Where

should she go? Like a mistake. Where she started. She wants to start

all over. But.

Who am I to say? The eye is often mistaken. Or is it the mind?

Always eager to interpret. To turn one’s mouth. Every witcha way.

But what does the eye know? What it seeks. The magpie twirling in

the park. Stumbling. Like a liar. The gelled-back feathers. Was she

caught in the snow? Just seconds. Before. Working to know. What

one can never. With purpose? A cover. For words spoken. In haste.

& anger. She seemed hurt. She seemed. Like a magpie. Like a liar. But

I might be wrong. What my eye saw. Where I started. Just seconds

before. A lost thing.

She seemed fragile. Thinner than ever. Preoccupied. Hungry. Like

someone had made a mistake. Had they? Always eager. She wanted to

start all over. We all want that. From time to time. A cut of air. A

cut of the eye. All that sadness. Just seconds. After. Let’s erase. With

purpose? With gladness? A map. Put your hammer away. If a woman

seems fragile. Try to focus. On a magpie. On a blend-in bird.

A lost thing. Happens. The eye can miss. Just seconds. She seemed

fragile. Different. Like a high yellow sadness. Like someone. A lost

thing. From time to time. A tiny hole. A little dip. Shield her from

air. Like a second. In snow. Without a flock.

from You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for LoveFind more by Yona Harvey at the library

Copyright © 2020 Yona Harvey
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Yona Harvey

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.