Bird’s Eye View

Bird’s Eye View


Even after the war, things went on

lockstep, our house in Terry Village one of

a hundred shotgun army barracks dragged

into place. We had one-fourth of one, thin-

walled, set up for GIs coming back

to school. And a great mud-puddle

out front, children eddying between

buildings looking for something

to do, digging under the 2 by 4 porches,

mothers on blankets drying their hair

under clotheslines, fathers tossing

cigarettes into brave patches of grass.


So my father made me wooden stilts

to lift me momentarily up, a bird’s eye

view. Not that he cared a whit for a moral.

But it was a simple spring morning,

dewy, spider-webby, and I was drifting

around in the new air, Saturday laid out

like a prize. I only remember mud-ruts,

the quiet, the way beginning took over

as if of course, which did, of course,

become the moral, if I had known then,

which was that tactics were never

necessary, only the wavering lifting,

and also the close literal examination

of beetles and pill-bugs, in the face of

their brittle desire to remain obscure.