I do kind gestures. Remove my appendix.
I put my ear to a flat shell and—nothing.
I play the lottery ironically. Get married.
Have a smear test. I put my ear to the beak
of a dead bird—nothing. I grow wisdom
teeth. Jog. I pick up a toddler’s telephone,
Hello?—No answer. I change a light bulb
on my own. Organize a large party. Hire
a clown. Attend a four-day stonewalling
course. Have a baby. Stop eating Coco Pops.
I put my ear right up to the slack and gaping
bonnet of a daffodil—. Get divorced. Floss.
Describe a younger person’s music taste as
“just noise.” Enjoy perusing a garden center.
Sit in a pub without drinking. I stand at the
lip of a pouting valley—speak to me!
My echo plagiarizes. I land a real love plus
two real cats. I never meet the talking bird
again. Or the yawning hole. The panther
of purple wisps who prowls inside the air.
I change nappies. Donate my eggs. Learn
a profound lesson about sacrifice. Brunch.
No singing floorboards. No vents leaking
scentless instructions. My mission is over.
The world has zipped up her second mouth.

More Poems by Caroline Bird