Notes for a Canary Fancier

When you first bring the canary home,
let it enter the cage by itself, let it hop
from the travelling box to its new frame:
real-life, four-chambered heart pouring
and nothing.

Call it home, this shiny home, its teeth
bare not in hostility, but in eternity;
none of its four walls are missing –
let it enter voluntarily, leap closer
to the soft wood perches, a tray for food,

another for water. Let it breathe,
pass by the mirror,
surface its own loneliness, sink
into the air of your house
surrounding its house.

Look at its feet.
Find what they know
more than two strays praying.
Find how you can’t unsee them –
praying, blessed as they are,

with moist biscuit and egg.
Now find the door and close it.
Now wait. The yellow wait
is when you bring Africa
to your living room

and wait. For the song will come.
And in one of the chambers
she will wake up
and show you
her whipping scars.

Iulia David