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It Begins with Getting Up

Because he doesn’t tire of waking
me, I practice bird calls on
the front porch, keep a whistle in the groove
of my palm. Thinking me

a lover, the small thing preens himself
on the goldenrod. I flap my hands

into jazz. That modal shift.
That pitch swift lift from root
to branch. I know what a mate
sounds like. I put a thumb in my mouth

and pull. I make the rattle call. He moves

to answer, and I open my hands
as if exposing with a narrow beak
the dense fluff of my breast. We are
only the song. The sun, rising,

bares open what’s between us in a wash of milk—

white light. He steps closer, throat open.
Closed. Open again. The tune
quieting under a rush

of wind and leaves until all that’s left
is the sound of wings beating.

Hannah Beilenson is pursuing her MFA in poetry at the University of Maryland in College Park. A good poem almost always makes her think of the album “Symbiosis” by Bill Evans.