Birds came to snap their necks against our windows because we’d built this house,
glass-walled in the woods / they came to eat the seeds we laid out / inside we
watched their comings-and goings, their feeding-squabbling / watched them swing
wobble watch us back, little black eyes // At ten I’d had a premonition a storm would
knock the nest from my window-tree / saw little birds fall mouths open and in morning
/ I found them altricial, abandoned / for days they cried, starved despite syringes and
cat food, dead in a shoebox / wrapped in kitchen rags I buried them // Then winter
came and brought a cardinal, all red dotting the snow / expired on impact, I held it /
between my hands its head brilliant, spine bent to fit the curve of finger and palm / I
went out to do my penance but could not dig the frozen dirt / I could not break the
ground // Now a cage hangs for the little ones to stay until they wake / I do not want to
keep them, hollow-boned, too light to crumple in / they watch us lay out our seeds,
watch us eat and break and bury / and beat their wings, breasts against bars because
they know / some days, death is a place



Drowned as a noun


In springtime I fish squirrels from the pool that’s flooded over – this does not ache, it
comes easily – and I consider teaching myself taxidermy – the stitching up of things –
but I never took to sewing, never managed better than a whipstitch – better at pressing
homemade paper out of pulp – better yet at tearing up the scraps – better yet,
skimming off last fall’s rot from the surface – watch the light refract through dark
water on dirt –

and wonder if, the rot beneath my skin