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A woman called
there was this bird
in her yard
couldn't fly

wasn't a parrot
or anything
just a regular

What is a regular bird?

The fledgling dove
all downy
and shy
big eyes staring
through those blue circles
rested quietly
in my hand

tail feathers askew
some missing, a small hole
me, hopeful
she could grew more

as I put her gently
in a towel nest
the mama flew
from the maple's high bower
landing on the wires
to her child?

I told her she had
a beautiful baby
someone kind will help her
someone dear will love her
we hope she'll fly soon

I hadn't lifted the
soft brown cloak
wings held tighty
against the small body

huge black crusty
like a house
burned out

that night
over Long Island Sound
a cloud
flashed white doves

I breathed a golden egg
of light around her
she died in it
next day

* * *

why do you do it?
people ask me that
been asking ever since
the junior prom
I was in charge
of the gates of heaven
we set them up, of wood
among pink rosin paths
and woodchips we dyed

you can't do that
my father protested
it's only a dance
Without looking at
our playroom,
I explained that heaven
is not brown tiled floors
it was messy
but we did it

now, I'm fifty
I ponder sometimes
is it true, about heaven
being blue
being up there, in the sky?

it's those regular birds
making me wonder
at dawn
I hear them cooing
they pad my porch
on orange toes
brown gentleness
with black beauty marks

why drive 50 miles to save a bird?
dyeing woodchips seems more sensible
but the Talmud says if you save
one life you save the world

if it's a regular bird
she may be just the one
who sings at dawn
the joy
of rising light

the earth and I
we need that

- Sue Holloway -

~ in Whole Terrain, 1996/1997, vol. 5
With permission from Antioch New England Graduate School.

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