Jonathan Minton


from “Technical Notes for Bird Government”


1) Park

A proposition is how
you say it          a park
          is where
you position                                    [distance, property
                                                      [drawn together as map


At the park’s edge a single mark of color is visible
first as the bark of a red cedar then the red of a park bench
before sunlight passes over the mouth of the creek


Reflected, the lake passes
from sunlight to red                         [as a figure
                                                       [enters: privately
The lake is decorated with blankets
                                                      [one of several
                                                      [eloquent scenes


Animal tracks, possibly bird prints, surround the lake,
marking the property as terrain. Elsewhere the terrain is posted,
as are all translated objects, boundaries, imperative sentences.


Everywhere the wilderness faces        [in a likeness of color
                                                       [in a likeness of an object
marked as marginal                          [a day of flowers, birds, wrappers,
                                                       [of unfinished letters for home


The period is another sentence. At the edge of the park, the park
repeats between place and placement: egg to bird
bird to bark, bark to the tree’s branch, leaning in.


In each position, each bird’s eye view,
each proposition
of ground, of sediment
rounding the lake
                                                       [a monument of nests, seedbeds,
                                                       [assemblages of soil bacteria

                                                       [the border is thin,



In every property, every person, the labour of the body, the work of hands, the sweat counted into the bread we eat, the labour of those who broke the oxen, things of such short duration, decaying without intention, one must drill where the ground is thickest.



3) Augury

Anything that reflects—
                        polished stone, bits
                        of bottleneck glass, expanse
                        of water—the eye is not
knowledge of, the eye directs. The future
follows a path of birds coming down—
                                    from a mountain built up to a dome, its inner walls
                                    left standing after the others have fallen;
                                    from a singular tree, bending as it bent
                                    in a wind that still torments it—an Oedipus
                                    drawn before the misshapen wings


[    You will notice a figure entering                  ]
[    at the edge of the scene.                           ]
[    You will have noticed the curve                  ]
[    of her bare arm. Her dress is white             ]
[    as the white of an egg. She startles           ]
[    a bird suspended in the shade of the tree.  ]


The scene arranges
                      to a portrait: nose and mouth,
                      lips, not speaking but parting—
the scene arranges in halves:
                      one for the hands counting
                      one and two, each word plucked
                      from its nest of said as such and scattered.
                      In the other, the figure
                      slips to the back of the room. It is egg-shaped,
                      with angled mirrors to lead the lines away.


[    Your void, silly bird, is another’s vow,         ]
[    is an egg poured over water, and another,  ]
[    two by two, if you stir, a third                     ]          
[    will blur / in the naming, the names float,    ]
[    bird, I’ll call you “bird” / build you a nest     ]
[    of nettles and will have beens…                  ]
[    one each for each corresponding note        ]


Evidence gathers in a theater
                      for the small stone bird.
                      Its small stone beak
                      bites at a stone seed
                      from a tree
                      in the still perfect quiet scene.


[    See. The singular fleck                              ]
[    at the bottom of the water                         ]
[    reflects the mineral you suspect                 ]
[    is there. You suspect it is mineral.              ]
[    If signs are taken / if a sign arrives            ]
[    as predicted, you carry it                          ]
[    across the weather. This is predicting        ]
[    you’ll go and gather fictions                      ]
[    for a feather-canvassed wagon                 ]