by the aviary his brother sat down and wept
loose nerves of a cage he once touched
with hollow bones, where juvenile species
were incubated, shells unmapped. only
a single knot of light to soft-boil, keep
themselves from scrambling. they called
it sanctuary – a place where endangered
means fault-lined, folded into arks, entered
by pairs of animals, wish bones sparked.
where just before dawn, his brother would
count how many wingspans it would take
to reach the sun, praying his betrothed won’t
come with the slat of lumber, reteaching him
flight. his fingers reaching deeper into light
than ever when he was wild, when his mother
prophesied – son, you’re too much, why didn’t
he stop? overflowed? why didn’t she clamp,
tore his beak, reclaimed each feather he owned?
why didn’t anyone’s throat soar? now, he kneels
before the sunken bed of his husbandry, ache
of ingrown claws heat-stroked from the last
snatched pocket, grafted marrow ready
to erupt – fuse and fuchsias. this nest he built
above arrest – ash fall, where ghosts perch.