Apr 172013


by Shirley Russak Wachtel


I am not a lover of birds

nor the kind

to cup lost flies and watch

their dizzying ascent

into the open blueness.


So when I came upon the bird

–an unextraordinary one at that–

I thought

I’ll keep walking

but instead

bent to meet its painted black eye

its gray head like a seaside stone

its furled wing a broken fan

sick now with trying.

When I tapped it with my sneaker

it did not

plaintive cry nor tremble cold

against the pavement

but pointed a single graywhite feather


Finding a glove I placed

the silent bird against

a young sapling

saved from death

or for it.


I like to think the bird

had lost its way to nest

resting between the throes

of life within

I like to think of three

small eggs and tiny birds

all beak and painted black eyes

with graywhite feathers.


I passed the sapling yesterday

and found a circle of dandelions

like cotton tufts of white and gray

early for the season.