Before there were words–

words like acrimony and amertume
before somebody came along 
trying to cram the hard graininess 
of disagreement into language
before all that, there were birds

some really quite big ones
—a rude person might say elephantine 
which would be harsh because the thing is 
they still flew, that’s the miracle of it —
however wide of girth and unwieldy 
they were with their big, blocky heads 
these massive prehistoric lumberers  

sailed upwards and coasted around 
on the westerlies and northerlies 
of ancient time — they didn’t feel 
gauche or non-svelte, they felt beautiful
all airy and agenda-less, quite caught 
up in their meandering (sometimes
bellowed) improvisations across vast 
expanses and serene — happy 
even in the knowledge they could 
be purple, if the mood took them
but also, any time they liked —
they could be mauve.