Black Blossom, or Dueling Landscapes

Gorse brambles, wood ridges arranged in slant
on both shed doors, v-shaped to the deck,
green in corner and mist rising around
small horses. I bicycle down hilled paddock;
so few people, none. What is lit in other places
I’ve been. Cinderblocks on the roof
of a rusted-out car with overgrown, shattered
windshield––could be anywhere in field,
under trees, in city lots. Island is not a name here,
just land so close you signal place.

I could get equally lost in the broken windows
across the street, the dark squares bridle edge.
Rust-stains cascade and fade down the building
as one pigeon leaves the roof, v-shaped wings
in flight. In weather. The city slowly uncovers into
streets leftover wet from night. A solitary, dark pedestrian
in dusking view maybe nobody sees or knows.
You there, turn your face at the arrival of you,
you watch interior open before me. Outside readies.

The city’s concrete brightens, there’s nothing
wrong with it, people filling up the sidewalk below,
huddled but not swarmed in increasing bloom
and I just solitary bone, never diminishing.
In the apartment the small squares of rug lengthen
in shadow and the bulbous chandelier hangs from
lowered ceiling, a rectangle of white light splays
from an open door and the staircase cuts soft darkness.

Slick tire tracks in the red mud road, I pass a painted white
pile of wood, or wood bleached by the sun, the best sign
to mark track to waterfall with water so clear people
get married in it. I remember the photo of my sister,
she so small and in a red raincoat next to frothing water.
I have a lot of memories of one death. Bicycling down
the hill, my face damp, the road cut into the scorched rock
and bushes, once flowers, last summer. The view opens up
sea hinged to cliffs, a certain privacy I never feared.

Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in Piha, New Zealand. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and holds a BA from New York University. Her work has been published in The Broome Street Review, the Claudius App, Petri Press, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook Free That Hooker from Aero Press (Spring 2012).