The Skylark and I

by Mary-Jane Holmes

The skylark and I have traded places,
I reel and churr all day and she’s great
with paperwork, a natural shredder.
It was difficult, at first to master
a voice that pulses so close
to the heart, where each lung draws
its song independent from the other,
holding air and refrain in the same
breath, but oh sweet syrinx, the sound!

Each dusk, we meet, her with a glass
of Merlot, me diving for gnats,
she talks office hours, utility bills, tax,
how thin her skin has become, how
her hair has lost its curl. I jump
into her palm, peck its lines. She smiles.
At night, while I watch out for crow
or stoat or owl, I hear her sometimes
trying to sing, listen to how the breath
catches in her throat, listen to how
she invests so much in holding
together that one single note