On Learning His Godson Has The “Language Gene” Defect FoxP2
Unsinging songbird, love’s signals
talon you no tune. The little ring
inside your heart never breaks,
won’t know to start. Small wing,
refrain-robbed, your language genes
are a muted branching; unheard, seen –
bright bird, tongueless, young and wild.
Confusion of syllables, lack of spring
upon a surprising note, tender
or offering, means no reason
to hear, as no care extends,
hems you in, away from flight
of singing, that breaks day’s stems
when we are woken outright
from dreaming by fowl stylistics,
their unparliamentary delight
in knocking sleep with a beak’s baton,
a symphonic rapping of night’s lectern.
O my songbird, I will sing for you,
I have this sprightly chance, Alex,
to be the line that runs from your
winged injury to my uncle’s tongue.
I’ll swoop and dive, roar the glad
sound we wish all songbirds had,
and in your silence key
a dumb way to play your defect
to perfection, as if my lyric vocals
shared across the sky to nephew –
given as love spreads its feathering.
So our duet is true, even if only
unsolo by mechanical virtue;
we break anatomy’s musical bonds
unfiring links of dopamine or mind,
to find where upfiring sound can lie
beyond its locked places, song-flight
swanning up as kissing makes union
and larks bend the sky in a risen two
so notes over notes fall out to ascend.
Todd Swift, summer 2014