For months when I first moved here, I thought it was a mattress spring—
some neighbors sleepily fucking in the heavy dark of dawn.
I was sleeping when you asked. In the wet hour
when Griffith Park smells green as God, when love is something
bound tight. My own voice startled me—
the clarity of it, sounding into your neck. It’s the birds.
Wrens. Red breasted nuthatch. My neighbors in the park.
The unmated males yanking into the night, sixteen yelps
a minute, they sound exactly like a mattress spring.
You tell me about days in the dark room
with your grandfather. This grandfather, you say,
patting your bicep where you inked his memory.
I pat after you, in praise of whatever ancestry brought you
to my apartment at the base of Griffith:
your yellow bicycle in the corner of the room,
bottle caps on the kitchen counter.
And we kiss deeply in praise of our hereness.
In praise of here I am here I’ve been.
The song of the birds, their tormenting love, persists.
Jessica Abughattas is an American poet of Palestinian heritage. Her work has been published in The Journal, BOAAT, Muzzle Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, Tinderbox, at Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She received an MFA from Antioch University and is an editor for Write Bloody Publishing. She lives in Los Angeles.