Week 39: Even as I see it

“There it is, I swear.” I gesture urgent
insisting that you look, but so elusive
it dances out of sight. Bright and vibrant
fiery plumage flickering through
the grey-green, gone even as I see it—
either a wicked mirage, a magician’s trick,
or the most beautiful secret in the city.

“Did you see?”
You shake your head.
“But it was there,” I say.

Your eyes meet mine, “I believe you.”
You try to smile and reassure me
but of course I feel the doubt.
You blink. I flinch.
“I believe you,” you say again,
one too many times to be sincere.

I’ve seen the creature time and time again,
a glint of color in a drab corner,
a strange flutter breaking the busy night.
Something strange—a vagrant parrot or macaw.
Some equatorial marvel lost north.
But it remains unreal—just a story.
I’m the only one who knows.
You need to see it or it’s a daydream.

I lean forward intent
trying to catch any sign,
any note of life. My eyes go dry.
“I believe you,” you say again.
“What are you trying to prove?”
I scan again for any flash, for any odd shine
or unnatural bustle, but there is nothing.
There is just a bush and the city around it.

You take my hand and pull
“Let’s go,” you say. “Let’s keep moving.”
And I follow you,
but my head is spun around, and still
the bush sits quiet and empty.

Author’s Notes:

This poem feels stylistically out of place in my project for some reason, but I like it. It has periods, for instance, and it feels a lot more story-like than most of the poems I’ve posted. One fun thing to note is that I generally don’t care for adverbs in poems (short explanation: they’re like dumping a bunch of sugar on a poem, and can get gross), so on a lark, I took the ‘ly’ off the end of the two adverbs in this poem (urgently and intently) to make it less adverb-y. Probably not something I’ll always do, but it’s interesting I think.

I hadn’t explicitly thought about how much I don’t like using adverbs until just now, so I did a quick search for ‘ly’ in all the poems I’ve done thus far, and there were only about 50 ‘ly’ adverbs that I found out of 38 poems so far. A full 7 were the word ‘slowly’. At the end of the project, I’m very excited to do more word usage analysis like this.

Favorite line(s):
‘either a wicked mirage, a magician’s trick,
or the most beautiful secret in the city.’

Most grammatically insecure line:
‘“There it is, I swear.” I gesture urgent’