Songbird proposition

She opens: We don’t speak the same language
and anyway I’m expecting someone
so he sends a bluebird and a skylark
which rebel birds (ces oiseaux rebelles), confounding him,
converse incomprehensibly
(she interprets this as bird-brained)

He palavers: Don’t you agree that
every one of thirty-six (Lamed Vav Tzadikim) should have
a private poet confidant, an exotic muse musician,
a random secret liaison – an insignificant other?
(mildly alarmed at such presumptuous temerity,
she reiterates “language border”)

He hires surrogates, who sing
and play a plaintive Spanish serenade
lit by a midsummer moon
(although she doesn’t understand a word,
she admits that the tenor, at least, has promise)

He offers her his hands
says they’re instruments to touch her heart
or sever them, take them,
nest them in a locket with a velvet lining
keep them warm
(they have a mind of their own)

or better yet, he hazards, hopefully
keep me in a cage:
I’ll trill songbird songs to you
in a foreign language
and a familiar one

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