The Magnificent Bird of Paradise
to be named magnificent.
to carry a cloak with you everywhere.
what’s that like, Mr Bird of Paradise? Mr Steals the Show,
Mr Elaborate Mating Rituals, Mr Women Want Me
And Flowers Copy Me. you’re not Tuxedo Mask and i’m not your
Sailor Moon. we don’t get theatrics, don’t get the privilege
of costume party campiness and anime girl quick changes,
just get kissing under the table like a dirty deal,
putting a hand around my neck and calling it comfort.
my bird of paradise, my riflebird, my paradise-crow and king
killer, none of the birds in this Canadian wetland do you justice.
goodbye goose, goodbye mallard, goodbye barn owl and red-winged
blackbird. you’re an arrogant ass, a house on fire, an oxygen hoarder, the opposite
of a romantic, but you could still talk me into climbing
onto the roof and waiting all night for you to land.
the feathers are ostentatious, the once-intricate dance now mostly just dizzying,
but when i’m half-asleep against the fake chimney and you drop down
next to me the sunrise can almost make me believe
you’re still golden, still worth staying up for,
still the soft magnificent bird of paradise that first found me,
three years ago, and nudged its head against my hand in the morning.
Joyce Liu is a teenage poet from Ottawa, Canada. She recently learned the difference between birds of paradise (the flowers) and birds of paradise (the actual birds), right in time for this poem. More of her work can be found in released and upcoming issues of perhappened mag, FEED, and Gone Lawn. Joyce tweets sometimes at @joyceliuwrites.