PORTABLE SOUL

Over a ledge on the ocean
our train shakes north to Canada hanging
out over the Pacific
splitting a cloud
of brown birds just a little
different from any species
I know. Later, at the border,
agents take you off
into a bright poisoned room
and warn you not to focus
on trumpeter swans you saw at rest
back down in Skagit Valley fields:
bright white birds on vivid green knowing
just a little something we don't --
how to end one thing for another,
how to fly
past borders, raze dead seasons, how to change
themselves instantly, find these fields, travel
holding nothing but a portable soul
and the grace of those brilliant wings.

- Larry Johnson

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