for Emma Darwin

Rainy days, his humming
seeped beneath the study door,
trailed you like a cape. You felt it
bubble through the soup, shimmer
across your piano's top. The creaking
of his steps infused the roast,
kept time to the waltzes you coaxed
from the keys. Behind the door,
he measured wingspans, searched
for telltale markings, parted stiffened
beaks. The scratch of nib against notebook,
feathers found daily in parlor drawers:
the rhythm by which you kept house, winding
each day towards night, when those fingers
that bent the necks of birds would trace
blue nocturnes against your spine.

Iris A. Law is a Kundiman Fellow and a graduate of the M.F.A. program at the University of Notre Dame. She edits the online literary magazine and blog Lantern Review. Visit her online at

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761