My daughter said
“If you write about this
and read it to me,
I’ll hate you forever,” because
who wants to be reminded of
a hatchling, fallen from the nest,
its neck broken while your mother
had to push a shovel through thick roots
to return its body back to the earth?
She named her Cherry Blossom Tweeter.
Worse still was the reality
that its sister, dazed and exhausted,
could be returned to the nest—
not taken home in the cardboard box,
a tiny pillow gracing the bottom.
There would be no protecting it from
cats, no nurturing it into the absence
Its eyes never opened as she
stroked its head, as I cradled the warm,
pin-feathered body, as it panted from fright,
its spindly legs all bone and claw.
She couldn’t feel it shaking
with each movement of her fingertips,
wasn’t old enough for its droopy head
to signal the nurturing that only
a mother can provide.
Only my eyes were the ones that saw
past the bare, feather-pricked body
into the memory of my daughter’s floppy neck
and mottled skin.
Loralee Clark ‘s work has appeared in The Binnacle, Penwood Review, Cape Rock, Grasslands Review, The Iconoclast, The Sierra Nevada College Review, and Maine Review. She has a poem published in the anthology “The Pagan’sMuse: Words of Ritual, Invocation, and Inspiration”, edited by Jane Raeburn.