See that bird below? I’ve been watching him sing his heart out for hours now, here at the Austin, TX airport, where we have both taken up residence, me for the better part of 24 hours and him for who knows how long. A combination of overbooked flights, rebooked flights, unbooked flights and the chaos of the SXSW music festival have given me the opportunity to get to know this airport well, although probably not as well as this bird. I wander from one end of the terminal to another, listening to live music, eating pretzel bits offered up by the Auntie Anne’s server, talking to the Earl Campbell Sports Bar waiter who recognized me this morning from dinner last night, and listening to the bird. He might not be singing so much as wailing, and who can blame him? He made me think of this beautiful poem by Leah Falk. A torn page in the book of animals.
Noah, to His Dove
– Leah Falk
With your wings of paper, fly, my bird, and find
a man who stands in water. In this land,
even far from shore, the brows of waves might break
against a sandy table, glass moon lit
to guide them toward last call, their salty end.
To the man who holds that trembling room
together with his feet—who holds his heart
against erosion—give your gentle body,
its crisp folds, its fragile case, its ink
as sweet as liquor. If he reads you over
and again, build us a house upon his rocky breast,
gather clay and willow. Until then, when I come
to your torn page in the book of animals,
my own heart stills and digs a trench that fills with rain.
For more information on Leah Falk, please click here.