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First Love*

I think there are birds no human’s ever seen.

Floaty things that scan the ground and stay away for fear of what has been.

The decimation of Everglades’ birds for showy hats,

The bulldozing of centuries of habitat.

I might one day see a scrub jay in his blue coat,

But he has told those others to stay afloat.

I love you, she told me, before she knew my name.

A floaty thing who would have stayed away but for this game

A game of love that destroys no matter desire’s plans

And aloft she went heeding Jay’s tale.

I wonder about things not seen

To find them

To tell me the dream I** forgot this morning

of birds no human’s seen

of floaty things no eye can see

for destruction warned the day,

warned the woman in this scene.

And I, in my blue coat,

a wolf in sheep’s clothing,

lept aloft to capture the unseen thing:

The I love you,

The secret of silence hidden in my bones.

And the wind that sweeps through the grasses

warning away these unseen things.

*A result of the Sixth Annual Sandhill Writers Retreat at St. Leo University - muse: Michael Hettich; Hettich’s instructions were to copy down the first line and then to write without stopping as he asked us to add lines to our poems. Those lines were 1. I think there are birds no human’s ever seen; 2. I love you, she told me, before she knew my name, 3. Tell me the dream you forgot this morning, 4. The secret of silence is hidden in my bones, 5. Give it the title: First Love.

This poem was used during my presentation at the the July 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Regional Honors Conference, in a speech I gave titled "Creativity: Using the Subconscious.”

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