Flamingos et al

When I say “I,” it is a supposed person. 
                           —Emily Dickinson

Emily, I am writing this poem to be another— 
my aged neighbor, kneeling at her flower bed 
her prayer the lantana she’s gold-transplanting. 
Or the person of the flamingos, New Orleans zoo, 
I took in yesterday, the pink sunset 
their preening feathers pinked, our pinkness 
the whole flock of us, on spindle legs, 
our bodies tower rooms, our necks descending, 
condescending to drink the black pools at our feet. 
Why be who I am when the world 
claims me, the willow by the river 
taking my name as I pass, the shaking 
a willows’ kind of fluted benediction— 
I suppose at my last breath I’ll come back 
to stand in my soul, naked, dispossessed—