The day after the rainstorm I find the nest--
crosshatch of wet grass and feathers
near the flank of rusted drainpipe in the yard.
A fat sparrow darts from the wreckage
into a sagging elm, and I spot among the twigs
and fluff an unfurled claw, slit of bulbous eye
and a delicate beak unveed to the morning sun.
Unsettling the whorls I remember
how you were once compelled to bury
a dead bird like this one, nondescriptly black or brown
that, after the worst of our fights at the end,
you found in an Amoco parking lot.
And when you told me I flinched
in disgust at the garish flailing
of your heart, how you relished your suffering
without me. Now I collect the damp assemblage,
careful not to drop the small body still entwined
there and imagine you on that sleeting December
day, in your too-thin blue jacket as you stop
to consider the stiff-legged young grackle at the foot
of a pump, the way you fold the remains
into a days-old newspaper, seeing the first fronds
of adult feathers with their rainbowed sheen
among the fledgling down, the beads of eyes half-shut,
the beak agape and the little curled claws.
This morning I hold my own small dead weight,
hide it in the cool dark soil beneath the chrysanthemums
and in this still moment, I believe your outsized gesture
within the lesser one, mourning a loss that fits
in your palm when large ones fall with resolute
thunder from the sky.
has been previously published in Failbetter,
Rattle, The Hiram Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, Poetry Motel
and other publications.
She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and
recently moved to New York from the Detroit area.