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This poem first appeared in the Antioch Review in the Spring 2007 issue and was reprinted in the anniversary issue, Fall 2011.

                                             
RARA AVIS
by David Wagoner


Through the thick crosshatching 
of twigs, among the clutter 
              of fluttering small shreds 
              like leaves beyond leaves 
you catch a glimpse 
of something moving 
              in a different way, something 
              being itself. But it hears you. 
It falls still. It breaks down
into pieces of what you thought 
              it was. It wasn't 
              what you think it is either, 
yet you wait for it 
to move again, afraid 
              you'll never know how 
              to tell where it's gone. 
When you take yourself away 
without having seen it clearly, 
              it stays where it is 
              and watches you disappear 
and moves on silent claws 
and becomes itself again.

 

***

david-wagonerDavid Wagoner has published 20 books of poems, most recently After the Point of No Return, (Copper Canyon Press, 2112). He has also published ten novels, one of which, The Escape Artist, was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola. He won the Lilly Prize in 1991, six yearly prizes from Poetry, two yearly prizes from Prairie Schooner, and the Arthur Rense Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2011. In 2007, his play First Class was given 43 performances at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. He was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets for 23 years. He edited Poetry Northwest from 1966 to 2002, and he is professor emeritus of English at the U. of Washington. He teaches at the low-residency MFA program of the Whidbey Island Writers Workshop.

© 2015, The Antioch Review

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