It takes hundreds of millions of years to find her
but the dark ones discover their Eve in the fossilized
shallows of a lagoon. They call her Rosetta Stone, Mother
Bird, trace their talons through the delicate impression
of feathers in the limestone, her fine-grained imprint
of bone. Witness her forearms, her fingers, her gentle
curving claws, come as close to a caress as a lover.
She is excavated, brushed clean with warm black
feathers, chipped out bill by bill bit by bit until
her form is fresh, withdrawn from the earth, untombed,
flown to the free birds of the world. It is decided
that she belongs to all. The work begins,
dividing her bones, the hollow stamps of her plumes
pecked into relics, sold for seeds to the cardinals
who tuck them away in reliquaries, avail them
as blessings on the laybirds.
In time the relics fade, the bones decay. All
that is left of the avian eve is her memory, her myth.
An ancient soul that once had a tail, shed to touch
the night sky, spread her wings so deep into the night
that the inky ether wrapped her in its sheen,
set her glory in the morning, rival to the sun,
calls her clandestine, carbon, kohl, lastly crow, after lover.
Khara House, Pennsylvania, USA