Wynn Yarbrough >

It's a Bird's Life

The baby bird breaks the shell and peeks
its head out of the swallowing
folds of her dress. All around her clouds
shift, droop, and sigh. She coos softly,
“Pack your wings full of seeds, stay clear
of the boxwoods.” With his wings pickled
in fetal scum, the light blinding his barely born
eyes, she’s not sure she’s witnessed 
a miracle. Her shoulders drop, her breasts
swell, her nipples turn to thimbles.
She scans the park. A child ducks
the shitting gulls, the thundering horses strain
to keep the oak wheels gliding, leaves commit
themselves and fall. She clears her throat,
cawing over a piece of feather in her beak.
She picks the lint off her arms, flicks
the dead moth off her lap, and begins
to cry. See, she knows: one day his best friends
will look at him and see: sacrifice:
and fly away. And no one is alone until
they’re alone on a telephone wire scanning
the horizon for someone to call. She knows
he’ll bitch and whine and moan until he’s hoarse.
She loves birds and nature and love but needs
something more. So, she picks up the pieces
of the shell and takes the baby bird back home
So, she puts him inside and lacquers the husk.
Let him crow his way back out, she thinks preening
her feathers, let him show us a real miracle.