Kyle McCord

Driving Bill to the airport,

he pointed out the window.

Cormorant, he said. And I turned

long enough to catch a glimpse

of the bird suspended

above a smokestack,

above the discount mattress store,

where I’ve never seen a single car,

the sky a bright auburn

russet on the bird’s back.

It was beautiful, the bird,

but also the way he said it.

Like he couldn’t hold the word in

once he’d spotted it.

It’s a night since Bill

opened his book

in the bar haunted by smoke

to read about his daughter,

uhte, unhemlich.

And later asked

if one of the dogs could stay

with him, the corgi

named for an observer of nightingales.

He’s a man who knows his bedfellows.

Now only 8 a.m., and the stars

already cleared, my hands

newly anemic.

To crave


is to love a thing apart,

my friend not the many faces

I can no longer conjure.

Bill removes his glasses,

rubs his eyes.

Swallow-tailed Kite, how amazing,

he points,

and means the bird —

or can he mean the word

it slowly becomes?

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