with its waterlogged wings spread open,
drying off on a rock in the middle
of a man-made lake after diving for food
and it makes me think about wonder
and it makes me want to pry and stretch
my shy arms open to the subtle summer
wind slicing through the park, sliding
over my skin like a stream of people
blowing candles out over my feathery
body and it makes me think about my
church when I was a kid, and how I
lifted my hands to Jesus, hoping
for surrender, but often felt nothing,
except for the rush of fervent people wanting
to be delivered from their aching, present
pain, and how that ache changed the smell
in the room to money and how I pinched
my face and especially my eyes tighter,
tighter and reached my hands higher—how
I, like the cormorant, stood in the middle
of the sanctuary so exposed and open
and wanted and wanted so much to grasp
the electric weather rushing through
the drama of it all like a shout
in the believer’s scratchy throat.

I don’t go to church anymore, but today
I woke up early and meditated. I closed
my eyes and focused on a fake seed
in my hand and put my hands over
my heart to shove the intention inside
my chest to blossom—I’m still stumbling
through this life hoping for anyone or
something to save me. I’m still thinking
about the cormorant who disappeared
when I was writing this poem. I was just
looking down and finishing a line
and then I looked back up—gone.