Massage for Serapis

I preen your seagull body,
your fingers shell-like,

pink and curving—I mean
every touch.

You unfold fast
like birds startled

into flight. Beneath you are still
as a night of nameless stars.

So many names
we each have had—

I too have been a bird, circling, circling,
seagull white. I lost

my nest, and where the lighthouse stood.

You were once a pharaoh
known to heal,

your men carved Luxor, temple
of the body; real

architecture of skeleton, organs,
nerves. Today,

you are a boyman, your curves
still thin, but tight, learning to glean

knots and tears. I touch the hot
of your heart, the bright

keen chirping of blood.

I do not know who you are or where
your feathers fell. Still,

your back betrays what you cannot
tell—unexcavated past,

what you built and let fall
to ruin, each last rock

you placed so well.

I tend your broken wing,
ascend your temple’s arc

of vertebrae. A red cardinal sings
outside the curtained window.

For all our names I pray.