The dodo is
two feet high, and laughs.
A parrot, swan-sized, pig-, scale-legged
bird. Neither parrot, nor pig-nor swan.
Its beak is the beak of a parrot,
a bare-cheeked, wholly beaked and speechless
parrot. A bird incapable of
anything--but laughter. And silence:
a silence that is laughter--and fact.
And a denial of fact (and bird).
It is a sort of turkey, only
not a turkey; not anything. --Not
able to sing, not able to dance
not able to fly...
--The Dutch called it the 'nauseous bird,'
Walguögel, 'the uncookable.'
Its existence (extinct as it is)
is from the Portuguese: Duodo, 'dumb,'
'stupid,' 'silly.' And the story of its
having been eaten on Rodrigues
Island by hogs, certain sailors & monkeys:
Didus ineptus. A bird that aided
its own digestion, of seeds and leaves,
by swallowing large stones. It has been called,
though with birds (extinct or otherwise)
crosses are a lie, a cross between
a turkey and a pigeon. The first,
it is claimed, won out; and, having won,
took flight from flight (its wings but tails, gray
yellow tufted white). And for reasons
as yet unknown.
Its beak is laughter
and shines, in indifference-and size.
It has the meaning, for some, of wings:
wings that have become a face: embodied
in a beak... and half the dodo's head...
It laughs--silence, its mind, extends from its ears:
its laugh, from wings, like wrists, to bill, to ears.
Robert Sward 2002