Chinese Songbird Cage

One delicate palace—
bamboo and rattan, in a curio shop

scented with jasmine, everywhere
blossoms of water lilies.

Frail architecture—cross-hatched
reed strips, a gold latch,

enduring dignity.
At times a partition—carefully

strung glass beads, jade and ruby
glint in silk blue light.

Imagine a hue mei song thrush—
splash of olive and gray, traditional

white brow, improvising around a melody
as if a Baroque fugue.

Feather and pulse. Pure song—
at times slightly altered,

yet  always persistent, always pristine.


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