In the Gap

Blackbird called Redwinged
                                             and I both
           startle when I stand
           and turn;

bird expertly
                      swerves, flies on
but I

           a few thousand mind moments stopped and blank
           not knowing what's gone down.

           don't think
           I've never seen that red wingstripe before.
Of course I have. Once I

along with a female
                      Redwing hoped to mate with
           was even treated to a whole
intentional display. Spreading for sex

the blackbird hopped
           on the path at my feet

                       and didn't get out of the way. See see see
my nice stripe!
                        it urgently said.

           I do,
                       I said,
                                   if that's any help;
but this

was unearthly, not endearing.

I could only take it in
                      as the mind, it seems,
knows its own intentions

only after a delay

          the motor cortex fired up to act,

before the language centers know what's up.
                        (They've proven this on MRI's.)

I was surprised       surprised.

People, too,
                      can take your breath away

kindness from an enemy

betrayal by a love. Then
you have to swerve
                                 way fast
          or crash the whole damn car.


Linda Bamber