It is scientifically controversial to say
that birds are born with the innate knowledge
of how to build a nest.
Apparently it is trial and error
nesting and nesting in wrong places
with wrong materials until some arrangement
makes a home.
An imperative. Like other things.
There are the other things
that are imperatives too.
I have hit my head on the walls of lifts
and on drawer handles. I have used scalpels,
pencil sharpeners, pinking shears, vodka.
Unfortunately I have to.
Like settling in the crook of a branch,
not knowing what you’re making,
your wings fluted like gills, calamus
spread open like a hand made of spines.
These things we can’t explain or stop.
Skin opens up like the neck of a prickling cat.
Options everywhere—moss, scissors,
sticks, glass, needles, leaves.
I have only ever wanted
a home. I have only ever wanted
to know what to do.