Thin Air

Trapped by a bend
in the basilica, a bird
hums inside at the humming-
bird outside glass trilling
against its frenzied whir.

A man I’ll never stop
loving climbs the wall,
hovers on a sill stretching
to grasp at anxious
reflections. How many

heartbeats to escape inside
the outside of joy? To turn
a green wing toward
his dark palm closing
off light? Lightly palms globe

the terror song, carry it
to a garden like a sacred stone.
On a holy hill that keeps
our crutches, fingers unfurl
in a lemniscate of wings.

—Brenda Cárdenas, Milwaukee