© 2023 by Ben Stower

The Gypsy & The Bird

You can’t leave, without

a home to first abandon,
said the gypsy to the bird.

 

Flap your wings, you will see 
there’s no place where you and me
cannot be someone’s King

or someone’s Queen.

But what will we do

before those stations yet unfolded,
said the bird

as he pecked at his prey. 
 

See it’s not the destination

that gets my feathers aching. 
It’s the miles in between;

so vast and lined with graves.
 

I’ve heard of other birds

who’ve fallen out of favour.
Ended up with beaks

buried in dirt. 

The gypsy shook her head

until he’d ceased his pecking, 
and she spoke with words

that crunched on dried and hollowed earth

 

Would you let a nightmare stop

a lifetime worth of sleep, 
or the foulest sound

deafen calls of future love? 
 

If you still need my preaching,

you don’t deserve that second serve

of skin and hair.

 

She raised a cracked and leathered hand

silencing surrounding air. 
Let me promptly speak my mind,

before the hot sun leaves my words

with no passage to be shared. 
 

See some turns I have skipped

might have led me

to this ditch. But if given

another heart, mind and body,
those same open paths

would bear no footprints

of my making. 
 

Claim my words as lies,

kiss them from my tongue. 
This train we’re riding holds none

fearful of its carriage.
Save you.

 

Her hand fell resting 
on a chest, a flattened rose.
That bird he cocked his head

in a manner that suggested 
he’d seen two worms making love. 

 

With a single beat of wings
he relinquished his seat 
and flew far from the train

with the gypsy and the damned. 
 

Later he’d return

and finally enjoy his meal

in peaceful solitude.