What the Birds Sang to the Dead Girl Who Fell From a Tree – Laura Weeks

Let go of gravity.
Feel it shudder down your limbs,
pool at your ankles,
now you are ours.
Henceforth you too will dream
only of singing.

Here you will find
new modes of being
between flesh and fletch,
between the invisible and the unfeasible—
here in Dreamtime,
what we call home.

There are no laws here,
except those of flight;
no weight except
the burden of song.
Or, as we teach fledglings:
first the cadenza,
then the reprise.

Begin by imitating:
tweak the predictable pattern
with subtle violations.
Transcribe the language of birdsong by day;
read it out at night.
Debate the virtue of sleep in humans,
of dream vs. flight.


Laura D. Weeks is a recovering academic who moved West and moved on. Originally a Slavist with a PhD from Stanford University, she has turned her hand to a variety of more diverse and more rewarding pursuits: translating, editing, consecutive interpreting and running a piano studio, Weeks’ Wunderkinder. Her literary translations have appeared in Russian Literature Triquarterly, The Literary Review, South Central Review and the new renaissance. She coedited and translated for the anthology Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry (Talisman House Press, 2000). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals including the Atlanta Review, The Comstock Review, Journal of Kentucky Studies, Passager, Pegasus, Mudfish, Nimrod, and the new renaissance. It has also been anthologized in All We Can Hold, published by Sage Hill Press. Her poem “What Bones Want” was a finalist for the Rash Award. “A Hand by Any Other Name” won honorable mention in the Zero Bone poetry competition. She is the author of two chapbooks, Deaf Man Talking and The Mad Woman.

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