Poems by Jean Mikhail

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Cardinal's Triangle

by Jean Mikhail

From Canary Winter 2015-16

Jean lives in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Ohio, in a small, progressive town where the current environmental issues center around fracking.

The female body's
dim, the color of smoke,
save for the red triangle
on the head's tilt, a curiosity.
Save for the tipped wings,
the coral beak she carries
off into the woods,
a flame ignited. I blow into
my hands this cold day. Into
swatches of blue sky, into clouds fly
cardinals where the ineffectual
sun bids farewell to the earth, as earth
tilts away this hemisphere. Looping around
her territory, wearing a necklace of song
at her throat,she hooks and unhooks it,
all the while tumbling
red berries with her tongue, one by one.
The cold stings our blood, blushing
our fingertips. You hold
pruning shears while I take the honeysuckle
canes at the root. Blinding
steam erupts from my breath. I am
inside the cave of her
favorite hiding spot. In
the winter's bare bush,
hides the male, his body brighter.




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