As I speak to you I am
Just myself
When I call to you
I am not a mockingbird
Who does sing quite well
Don’t get me wrong, but
I’m not trying to imitate
Mockingbird sings only bits of others’
Selves as the elders say he alone
When hummingbird’s tobacco magic
Saved all existence
Did not voice his own joy
Borrowing from all the bird kin
It’s not that I lack ear or talent
For when I call cardinal or barred owl
In their own music they call back
I do as I choose as
Right now I choose me
For I esteem your understanding
The notes of who I am
If you slept in the viburnum thicket
If your eyes revolved to the back of your head
If you were born on the isle of Terceira
I might feel the need
Temporarily to transform
But now is now
So like Popeye the Sailor
I’ll toot my own little horn
Sooty as it may be