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Love Song

Love comes hungry to anyone’s hand.
I found the newborn sparrow next to
the tumbled nest on the grass. Bravely

opening its beak. Cats circled, squirrels.
I tried to set the nest right but the wild
birds had fled. The knot of pin feathers

sat in my hand and spoke. Just because
I’ve raised it by touch, doesn’t mean it
follows. All day it pecks at the tin image of

a faceless bird. It refuses to fly,
though I’ve opened the door. What
sends us to each other? He and I

had a blue landscape, a village street,
some poems, bread on a plate. Love
was a camera in a doorway, love was

a script, a tin bird. Love was faceless,
even when we’d memorized each other’s
lines. Love was hungry, love was faceless,

the sparrow sings, famished, in my hand.

—Carol Muske-Dukes

From Poetry Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2002
The Poetry Foundation

Copyright Carol Muske-Dukes.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of the Poetry Foundation. Copyright 2002 by Carol Muske-Dukes. For further permissions information, contact Poetry, 1030 N. Clark St., Ste. 420, Chicago, IL 60610, poetry@poetrymagazine.org.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Carol Muske-Dukes (1945- ) is the author of a number of novels and poetry collections, including Wyndmere: Poems (Open Road Media, 2014). From 2008-2011, she served as the state Poet Laureate of California.

Learn more about Carol Muske-Dukesat The Poetry Foundation.