For a Bird


Three days trapped inside my kitchen wall
you had fallen from the attic
through a six inch gap between the beams;
how you flapped and flapped
as I did dishes
spoke on the phone
read the morning paper over coffee.

You flapped and flapped
till I felt your dusty wings against my back,
your beak nudged up into the forefront of my brain
and my spine, splintered, at your every weakened caw.
I picked at my food in the evening
and thought of all the lovers in my life
who had tried to keep me home.

No one knows an easy way to free a bird.
Is it locked in place; does it fling
its wings against the dense unyielding wall?
Or does it turn in dips and stretch in open pockets?
I banged the wall to see if you still lived: you moved.
I narrowed the bang to exactly where you lay,
cut the rigid sheetrock to a clean square hole.
There you stood: as frantic as the day
you came to haunt me.

I had hoped you'd step from wall to rug
then spring to open window and then out. No.
Grace is not your virtue. And your wings are huge.
You had to hold your wretched flapping
to get out that narrow hole. You had to flit
to every corner, table, chair and vase
until you lit uncertainly but galantly
on a thick strong branch of my giant indoor jade.
Then, out the open window.

Outside, there are lone birds on the wire,
several scattered in the trees, and wild flocks
that cut through clouds on the way to where birds go.