April 7, 2022
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
Prompt: argue with a proverb or aphorism.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The woods were brushed with summer light
going crepuscular but still holding that lemony glow,
the world slowed and stilled
and it seemed I’d never hear my mother
calling us in for baths and bed.
The woods were flush
with plangent songs of hermit thrush,
the warblers and the wrens, their songs
a fabric stitched of sound and light
ribboning through the beech and birch
escorting me to my bed beneath the northern eave
where in the heat I’d pace through
my child nightmares and my dreams,
in the pink cotton pajama set
Grammie brought back from China
with fabric knots for buttons
and the little girl in black braids like mine
playing with her grey cat embroidered on the breast.
That was so long ago,
back when we said “Orient,”
as if the whole world’s center
must be located where we lived.
But the birds, back then,
how they’d flock the summer dusk
skirling the air with their lucent song.
Worth more, the lot of them,
wild and singing and doomed
than these few now captive,
the colored rows of study skins
drawered in the dusty formaldehyde museum,
the last passenger pigeon,
black catbird, heath hen.
The silence rising up where the beech and birch