These days, I lean into darkness: ten times

over, I sing madrigals, sign cards. Sweet times


find their vowels in birds’ wings, radial syntax

of carpus, metacarpus, alula. Digits of times


I’ve watched them brighten, spin—the clock’s

a scattered sparrow, keeled for seeds, nine times 


out of ten finding none—now, the muscles used

for flight unhinge and falter, tiny bones mark times


the eye’s looked low, the skull’s aspects unfuse,

whistles hasten from hollow bones. Lean times


sliver off the intertarsal joint, synsacrum, coracoid

and scapula, wishbone. Birds I’ve seen in times


of drowning appear flightless—winged birds shift  

weight, bellow air into dead space. Even times


of grief glimmer in sternums, elongate the ossified 

unknowns. I shiver: amniotic fluid marks times


of birth, of exit (dappled, arrowing). If I’m here

to witness, I will brave it, singe and land ten times


over ice, past stone. Words halve tongues: dark

nights double up, weightless, lacking teeth. Times 


for weeping coincide with danger: gardens, beaks

hide the spent arrival of flames. I’ve wiped times


tables from my mind, razorbills from my repertoire—

each day, I wake to scales, claws, spurs. If times


of hundred miles, of hope, are left unfinished, don’t

think migration’s forgotten for good. Echo times


of gliding, hasten on spring: I’ll fast forget (caudial, 

cranial) this sightline, these shell-hatching times.

Rebecca Givens Rolland is a writer, educator, photographer and consultant. She has a doctorate from Harvard in Human Development and Education and is also a speech-language pathologist and learning specialist, with a focus on early childhood. She is also an award-winning fiction writer and poet and a contributor to Brain, Child magazine.