In the library, I am reading a National Geographic
when you walk in. The article is on bowerbirds.
Your laptop case cradles your hip as you pass
my desk. Macgregor’s bowerbirds build
elaborate arbours in order to attract a mate,
some up to three feet tall. I stack my books slightly higher.
You’ve cut your hair. I pause to appreciate the curve
of your left ear; only bowerbirds share man’s passion
for aesthetics. They festoon their towers with the flotsam
of the forest. Bright leaves and beetles, carefully selected.
You choose the desk’s only other seat. Our gazes meet,
briefly. Somehow I smile. The Australian satin bowerbird
has strikingly blue eyes. They use litter, even Coke
cans, to catch the females’ attention. Half a can of Coke squats
at your elbow. I think it must be a sign. One inventive male
stole a CD to throw rainbows from his twiggy balcony.
Get Into You was Dannii Minogue’s second studio album.
It peaked at fifty-three in the Australian charts. Could you
get into me? You stretch in your seat. Your hips, again,
conjure thoughts of Rod Stewart. Macgregor’s males,
pictured on page seventy-six, sport an orange crest
reminiscent of Rod Stewart’s hair. This is clearly destiny,
the descent of your arm upending the Coke can,
spilling its dark significance across the desk. You’re up
and gone in seconds. Even the males with the tallest bowers
suffer rejection. But hope clings to the walls of my gut
like fructose syrup to varnished wood. Some bowerbirds
mash leaves into a paint with their beaks. Nothing says class
like a Jackson Pollock. The Macgregor’s bowerbird lives
in Papua New Guinea. Maybe we could be happy there.