Birds of Negative Space by Berent LaBrecque

(after VM Straka)

We didn’t hold hands
Not really
Just rested our softness in each other’s 
Enjoying the close space between us before it grew into an ocean and a sky
We see everything around it until we see what shape is left by the gaps

When I say the shape looks like New Zealand, I mean
As much as any shape can look like a feeling
It looks comfortable
The first time I went there, I was so at peace
I’ve spent most of the time since my return trying to go back
I mean
I caught myself smiling and didn’t understand why
Until I looked around 
And saw what could be a home
So when I say you felt like home
I mean I could rest my head in the South Island crook of your neck and shoulder for a long time 
And be happy

Or when I say the shape looks like a bird, I mean
Can we learn their songs for when we do not want to sing our own?
I mean
Do you remember that note you wrote me
The one about how you were having a difficult time staying alive?
The one that ends I hope you’re doing well, sweet bird
Sending you love

I look at it sometimes 
And whistle a bird song
I mean, I look at it sometimes
And whisper to you
across an ocean and a sky
Sweet bird, the world needs your voice
Even if it shakes
Stay alive, and sing

Berent LaBrecque currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spends most of his time sending love into the universe and also eating snacks. He self-published the chapbook “Sometimes It Rains” in 2017, available from the author upon request. He thinks third person bios are weird, and probably misses you.