Waiting tables, dyeing textiles, separating goats in heat
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When I was a red-winged blackbird I knew every post and stump,
I could tell exactly when it was time to fly.
When I was a waterlily I gave all my best leaves to the pond, and my
best blossoms too.
When I was a cattail I knew my friends and my numerous enemies
by their scent and their shape and the size of their stems.
When I was the multiflora rose I found many cozy spots, I was
thorny but hip, I was nicer to the bluebirds than to the crows.
When I was the duckweed I stuck to any bird I could, half the time I
didn’t even bother with the flowers, just split whenever I got the
When I was the pond I rested for weeks on end, let the wind and the
sun do all the work, said whatever all the time.
When I was the sun I had many urgent and utopian ideas, I changed
millions of tons of this into that, I didn’t care who watched or burned
themselves blind trying.
When I was the path everybody thought they used me, but they all
went exactly where I wanted them to go.
When I was Jeff I walked some paths, sat beside ponds, listened
to songs I couldn’t name. During the eclipse I looked straight at the
sun for an instant and afterwards I could still see, though never as
clear nor as far as I dreamed.
When I was a deerfly I zoomed around everybody’s head, as if I
could persuade them my troubles were their own.