Bird Man of Alcatraz
(For Robert Stroud)
To live in Stroud's prison
and be fitted for a foot sling,
light as a lift-off,
to roost on his finger
as he rocks your compound fracture,
to be one of his etchings
in the Roller Canary Journal
I'd break my flight wings
for some of his avian psychology,
to put the fire back into my feathers.
The infra-red hue of canary wings
still warms up the chill of Death Row.
But best would be the wild taste
of the seedling greens he grew through
wishbones of light, and a spoonful
of river-bed silica sifted through
sixteen inch mesh and washed down
with his finest cod liver oil.
What a remedy.