Leveler Poetry Journal
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Self-Portrait as Bird or Bee


I’ve built and burnt more

than a few nests,


there’s no reason to believe

I won’t do it again.


I wonder, if I start over, is there room

for you?  Or anyone who arrives


empty-handed, with nothing but an alibi

holding flesh to bone.


The snow retreats, then the ice.

Birds return and soon the moss


in all its careless green,

its erotic abundance


embarrassing the stone

that hosts it. When you turn


towards me, you turn towards

an untested theory,


much as the stone accepts

the blanket of new moss


without question, because this is about return,

and desire.  Or desire returned


in masquerade, in the form of a barren landscape

exploding, suddenly, with bees.

Leslie Shipman