Vijay Seshadri


A gray bird with a crest and a black mask.
Gilt edges the slim 
tail feathers.
An eye drop of arterial blood in a flask

of gray water is the flashing red
under the wing.
A large wader, gimlet-­eyed, under
the sun’s gimlet eye,

spearing frogs in the cattail
marsh. The sun itself a larger bird, 
its wings manufacturing 
the solar wind

that devours, that is what can devour a person—
floating in the vacuum
of perpetual space,
which is what there is and also is

itself a bird, a blackbird, 
its black eye, black in black, 
its sidewise look that makes you 
look back. 

Vijay Seshadri, the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and more, is the author of a number of poetry collections, including That Was Now, This Is Then (forthcoming October 2020).

Image: “Greater Bird-of-Paradise.” From the National Museum of History.