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John J. Audubon

This song is by Anathallo and appears on the album Canopy Glow (2008).

Most of us have heard crashing so loud
We hear a constant wave that spins between our temples piercing content with its sound.
We lost the 20,000s several years ago.
Gradually we feel it washing blank the range in which we hold the things we know.

Put your ear to a hummingbird's wing.
Place the hum against the ring.
Listen to its still and violent motion making
Treading water.

We are dense waves.
We don't float.
Our stories all just sink below the mess of wake
The millions of paddled palms our cupped hands make.

Overhead the goose flies low, necks curve darted straight
As a compass needle, dislocated from his mate.
He found her body rafting toward the mouth of the river when
She disappeared with the current underneath the tree trunk bridge.

Out toward the mouth.
Out with the spilling water.
We saw it coming like a spirit soars directed.
Gunshot smoke and a sinking thereafter.
He fell fast to the ocean while the red painted feathers floated down.

And John Audubon thought about the wiring
As he swam toward the twisted neck and the broken boat body bobbed.
Examining the belly for the bullet's tiny piercing, he cried, "Oh!"
When a secret fluttered, a migrant hummer unlatched its grip.

Overhead his heart sped spooked and we splashed
As the gail swung cold and some fish folded in the crest slap
Lapped at our heads, but we received it like a reprimand,
Too consumed by motion to perceive or understand.

John J. Audubon, his gifted replication.
Painted with precision, perfect vision like the shot stain.
And the whole world swam in deaf anticipation
Till the goose fell like a shed shell
From which the humming secret sprang.

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