Kathleen Miller – Dear Pelican

Kathleen Miller

Dear Pelican

Stepping across and into the creek, dear pelican, you find the strangest ways
we turn over on our sides and let the windows breathe a little
sitting in the middle of a driveway looking up at the stars
and kicking at small particles with our feet,
we can hear the cars go by on the freeway and imagine them as water moving

Dear pelican, unconcerned with forward movement unconcerned with the cars
sounding like water and the swing abandoned due to the season of all things
beginning again, we move as the light moves, chasing it across the sawdust
near the creek and plotting ourselves in the middle
taking care is pelicans is water moving and we are unconcerned
with the forward falling of cars and swings and light and pelicans

We just chase the light chase the creek chase the particles in the driveway
moving not backwards moving not like water unconcerned, move like pelicans
plotting and taking care, move like the abandoning of swings due to season
due to all things beginning again like pelicans

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In anticipation of sudden shifts in weather, we pelicans sit up on the roof top
with the chimneys and the solar panels, borrowing each other’s sweaters
and ignoring the allergies due to the changing of the seasons
beneath the solar panels and next to the chimneys, we pelicans climb up
between the stacks, searching for unimportant documents
concerning books, concerning transportation and we pelicans

The days are filled with pinecones and chimneys and seasonal allergies
The days are filled with solar panels and unimportant documents and pelicans

In the workplace, we tape pictures of lake systems to our hard drives pretending
to river raft while we boot up in the morning
we hang on our cubicle walls pictures of zebras and a garage sale poster of James Dean
we pelicans walk around the block on our lunch break and kick at the leaves so,
wishing them still bright and hanging, thinking intently about the changing
of the seasons and the allergies, thinking about the chimneys and the solar panels
and the endless search for unimportant documents

Wishing the pinecones and lake systems and hard drives
wishing them still bright and hanging
wishing them bright and still hanging
wishing for pelicans and solar panels unchanged by the changing
of the seasons, bright and hanging

*     *      *      *      *      *      *

we of the alarm clock
we of the breakfast cereals
we the cassette tape
we the automatic juicer
we of the frenzied morning
we of the sack lunch
we of the pelicans

We brush our hair over our eyes and peer beneath feeling frustrated and unsure,
we brush our hair like pelicans like preening, walking a little to the left but
looking to the right and walking to the right while looking a little to the left

We are wavering in our decided paths, we of the marching forward
we are wavering in the way we place one foot in front of the other,
in our preferred modes of travel, pelicans

Our wavering is lackluster
is running with our shoelaces laced together
is pelicans preening

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Oh we pelicans and our frenzied movements
Oh the trees dripping with blossoms like bowls

We pelicans tear ourselves away from the accident, point our eyes straight at the sky
and yawn, pelicans do not speak but push the hair away from the forehead,
pull the hair back and towards the sky

This is communicating

As in communication, we pelicans eat apples picked from backyards next to the freeway with
the grass and the smog and the urban apples blackened from the fumes of the cars and the
air, picking books from our shelves like apples, communicating like pelicans
gathering books and preening, tearing ourselves away from accidents and yawning at
the urban apples and the freeway and the sky
jamming pelican fists deep into our pockets, we communicate by pursing our lips
into tight pelican frowns

We pelicans are trying to find happiness in unmade beds and spilling trash cans
we pelicans are trying to find happiness in the urban apples and the view from freeways
we pelicans are trying to find happiness in books picked from shelves and in pushing
the hair away from the forehead and in communication and in the sky

*     *      *      *      *      *      *

We pelicans are driving several hours to say goodbye to loved ones
we are driving several hours to help pelicans say goodbye to loved ones

We pelicans are walking away from pictures in albums and postcards and warm beds
pelicans are diving and we are diving like pelicans deeply into nighttime,
saying goodbye to pictures of animals and safety and to loved ones

We pelicans are losing loved ones and helping pelicans drive several hours
to say goodbye, we are like pelicans, walking towards a dark hill in nighttime
and carrying with us small loaves of bread

We pelicans are holding hands, pelican-like, and losing loved ones
we bury our heads in each other’s soft necks, and like pelicans softly say goodbye

It is time for saying goodbye to loved ones and to warm beds and to safety
It is time for saying goodbye to pelicans and to pelicans losing loved ones
It is time for driving several hours in the dark thinking about pelicans and dark hills
and loved ones, it is the time for leaving picture albums and for goodbyes to loved ones
and for diving deeply into the unseen like pelicans making postcards and polaroids
of sand and dark hills and nighttime

return to SHAMPOO 24