All These Little Remonstrations

by Aurore Sibley

 

Winged things have always visited me.  There was the fledgling

Robin who’d fallen from his nest—we made a bed for it in a shoebox, gave him

Worms and water.  He either mended and flew away one day, or our parents

Removed him before we could see—I do not know which. 

 

And there was the brown bat who’d injured his wing in a sudden thunderstorm,

I tried, but how could a brown bat fathom that my gloved hands

Wanted to stall death?  I’d only imagined that he could sip water

From a tea saucer, that my remonstrations could change his longevity. 

 

And when I asked for help, there was the hummingbird with its honeyed

Needle of a beak.  And when I asked for a miracle,

There was the hawk with its precision of flight.

 

What I like about birds and flying things—they always sing the truth.

I believed you when you said this was something to be counted on—your love,

Like the certainty of seeing the turkey vultures circling above the hills in Big Sur,

Always and again, intent, so that

 

When you changed your mind without explanation, it was like

That time that a red-tailed hawk fell out of the sky and dead at my feet. 

I was standing at a bus stop on a busy San Francisco street corner,

And it made no sense.

 

It was so beautiful, but there were no remonstrations my hands could perform,

No song I could sing, that would bring it back to life. 

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