Ryan Bayless lives in Austin, Texas and teaches English and Fine Arts at Texas A&M University-Central Texas where he also serves as editor of The Lookout: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. His poems have appeared in The Wayfarer, Canary, The Aurorean, Tipton Poetry Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, Right Hand Pointing, Written River, and elsewhere.
The Names of Birds
However you feel about them
do not give names to birds.
In flight a bird appears motionless,
almost as if not flying at all.
And somehow because of this
a bird seems much closer to you than it is.
Behind the flying bird you may see clouds
and changing shape.
Sometimes a cloud even looks like a bird
after it looks like a fish
and before it looks like a hand
reaching for the sun.
And the sun seems very still
next to the clouds
and the bird flying by,
all of them moving very slowly
compared to the wind
which no one ever thinks
to give another name.