Journey to the Center of a Mechanical Bird

Rebecca Liu

Let’s consider for a minute how time is built
                  in this green mechanical bird how slippery 

as bullets the whirr of its tiny metallic brain
                  its tinny taloned wings its tinseled 

wind-up heart so inordinately quick for this static
                  flapping to stay just still in flight—

How the underbelly gleam so crunching in its gunmetal
                  nerves & blurring on its cobalt axis

cannot keep still the brass of this stammering chassis— 

What of the clockhands that creep backwards?
                  The whirl at the center of this whirligig 

heart armored in its shivering orbit
                  & sweating off its bolts the fizzle 

of bolts like this bird in the rubble of an after-fire
                  such stationary whirling, whirling

                  so fast in its big bird head just to stay

as all gears click & all systems go 
                  rifle of neon to the tinny drum core— 

When you get to the center nothing
                  but the explosion of tiny bird guts tinny bird  

shrapnel descending at the speed of fine rain