“Bird on a Wire” by Michael Xavier

Bird on a Wire

I was told when I was very young
That I suffered from too much native fire
And this would, in fact, explain over the years
why the world inside me turned at a different rate

Why I would notice a universe unfolding amongst what others would consider trivial things:
Like the distance between two birds on a wire,
for example.
I have witnessed respect and love suspended,
no human I know dare dream of.
Or why while others looked at the ground while walking
my eyes always curl to the sky and write the story of two sparrows passing in flight
Making them return to each other in spring
After the fall
After the long winter journey southward.

They also said
When I was young
That this affliction would cause others to burn
That my native fire was too much to show at once
That my goal was
and caution
and patience
I have found over the years this to be true
And I’ve left a trail of embers to prove it.
I have told those weak of heart and low on imagination to keep their distance-
I have explained from the start that I feel too much
and my heart doesn’t quit-
I go on to explain this affliction I own-
This over abundance of fire,
This thing that has kept me rising through the toughest parts of my life
and will burn long after I’m gone-
Is something that is sacred;
Something that I’m saving for one who can handle it with native gloves.
And if they move me, then I write for them.
And I say that I am much safer on the page.
Keep me there-
Here, where it’s safe . . .
But they don’t listen.
They want to know.
They want to see where the words come from.


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