She had habit to call everything that flew bird:
manta-rays swept through the reef when she leaned
in for a starfish — not a fish, really, more an asterisk
drawn in lopsided crayon; a fist, flush with a pulse.
A ray interrupted her reach, its glassy back huge,
a balloon at the top of a sky that was ripped away.
Bird, she said. And the beachcombers, they laughed.
She had habit, and as a for instance, grew to marry
a pilot. No counterfeit fly-boy, but a daredevil
who dove blind to spell out her signature,
a serenade gone up in smoke. Like her, he had
a hollowing thirst, and at the church steps
stopped to let loose a capture of rice,
a feast for fellow aviators, for hungry beaks and bugs.
He had habit himself, and tended a yearly migration.
From his perch the earth was a jumble of spilt
toys, pipe-cleaner trees and plastic cars, a doll
to play house among them — all rendered a vague
smear, barely bright from overhead,
jousted out by a murder of stars.
On anniversaries, he sees fit to drop her a letter,
its wings clipped with vellum and sealing wax.
Bird, she says, and patiently feeds the cats.