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 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.
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