What’s Stopping You (the Song of a Swallow Trapped in a Room)

What’s stopping me? I feel it

but I cannot see it: rigid, cool,

my own element made compact, 

this smooth hard nothingness

defines a sudden, sullen prison.

I press my beating heart to it

from chestnut-red throat to

forked-streamer indigo tail;

I double-delta this clear cage

with my pleading wing span.

Passive, beaten panic holds me.

Now my mite-honed eye

locks on to vast new terror:

one of the clumsy ground-giants

has seen me, is edging ever closer,

its huge hands raised to its face.

It tells me how ravishing are 

the glinty steely blues of me.

A caution in its hushed tones

gives me a fleeting pulse of

something beyond my reason:

it fears me in this cooped space.

Still I will my every atom

to filter through this clotted air,

this sheet of curdled sky.

drenched in the freshness, the joy

of where I have my airborne being.

What was stopping me swings out Deliberate, slow, without grace,

its hands fumble above me,

I hear a sound: tightness unclasped,

and in that moment I am flooded,

till it no longer matters: I fly,

exultant, superb, infinite acrobat

of free-flow invisible currents.

Now I can trust myself again.