On Learning His Godson Has The “Language Gene” Defect FoxP2 - new poem by Todd Swift

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
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