The other day
I strode along a crooked, rough-hewn path through a wooded, hilly place
near where I call home. The sun burned hot and high in a pure cyan sky, searing into stillness the murmur of the world. I myself was still as bones, not throwing stones.
Minding myself, a million miles away from here
when a torn bird fell down to the terra
No feathered brakes to slow descent
no branch for desperate claws to clutch
just spiraling speed gaining fast in time with the ground
I was minding myself
not throwing stones into trees
yet still this bright blue bird fell from the pure cyan sky.
I considered my choices
Surveyed the scene along the side of my path
I could walk by, feigning ignorance to this bird’s bad luck and leave the ragged thing to the mercy of God and the neighborhood cats.
I could break stride and swiftly turn
to find another to make the choice
A mother would surely take the burden
A father would happily show the way
A sister would take the poor creature home
A spouse would give me strength
But today’s world is still and I am on my own to choose.
I stopped and stooped
and scooped the torn bird shivering into my hand
searching for another breath of life.
My choice seemed righteous
Care and nurture, not disregard and destroy
So I carried along my way with a torn bird in the cup of my hand.
Some distance on I heard two voices calling out for the bright blue bird
Two inseparable, insufferable sisters
From whom this bird had escaped
This was not the wild creature I had imagined it to be
But a common pet who fled life’s cage for a solitary moment of freedom
A moment to fly with no boundaries
A moment to live with no master
A wild moment of independence.
At a split in the path
the two caught up to my stride
One a black-haired raven
with icy, mesmerizing eyes
The other blond
in pigtails and a bright, fickle smile
thanked me courteously for saving the bird
yet as I stood there waiting to see my friend back to the cage
I could hear them bartering as if for a baseball card or a bag of baubles.
So I stopped and stooped
my friend shivering into my hand
reaching for another breath of life
The dark haired one was getting louder
Her cackle shrilling out, surrounding the scene
she reached up to make her embrace
But pigtails twirled and the smile returned
Once again to the bird
she was not done, not, at least, for one moment more.
A moment fleets when you’re young and sweet
with bright smiles
But to a blue torn bird
shivering in the cup
of my hand
has just enough room
for a life.