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The Women in Literature and Life Assembly
of
The National Council of Teachers of English
Editor:  Patricia Kelly kellyp@vt.edu
Volume 2
Fall 1993


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Grave Exquisite Birds

If I had worn a gown into your death,
blue birds would have lifted its corners,
to recommend a village in the Netherlands,
with a grave unearthed,
ready for an ebony master,
an exquisite prince.

My gown would have gold stars printed
with bird claws holding the length
so I wouldn't drag the village to ruins
and cover whole graves
where masters of words
once had exquisite meaning.

The gown would turn black in the night.
Birds would fly me to the line of death
just outside the village.
I would meet your grave
and call you master like I never have.
I'd wait for your exquisite voice to soothe

My gown from blowing in the wind.
The beating of the bird's feathers:
an indecent gesture to the village of my heart
has opened its grave beating.
The master of my mind bears
exquisite yellow crosses to my eyes.

I am trapped in the wisdom of my gown.
Wings of a bird could lengthen my
arms to beat over the village
where your grave exists;
I could master flight
and be as exquisite as you in air.

My gown falls from my shoulders.
Blue birds beckon my body
into the soft village earth.
A naked grave wind beats.
I master the art of standing still.
An exquisite platform of sand blows my sight away.

Crisp gown of black birds shower the village,
with grave countenance,
they master the night and exquisite moon.

by Helen Decker ©


HELEN DECKER shares her time between NYC and Woodstock. She currently teaches English at Susan E. Wagner High School.


Copyright 1993, The Women in Literature and Life Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (ISSN #1065-9080). Permission is given to copy any article provided credit is given and the copies are not intended for resale.


Reference Citation: Decker, Helen. (1993). Grave exquisite birds. WILLA, Volume II, 9.


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