Peace went flying
from the house
that curious red bird
came crashing through the front window.
Last week. I think it was last week,
I cannot be sure I only know
that nothing has been
quite right or quite horizontal
Ever since that bird arrived
I’ve been lying
trying to understand
why the door keeps trading places with the floor and
why the fireplace and the big grey vase
have rolled together.
All was clear sailing before.
And then, out of nowhere,
Glass shattered instantly. Clear shards tinkled like wind chimes
and clattered together in a heap on the rug.
I was asleep when it happened
but instantly I snapped awake
and fled from my bed, barefoot, in my nightgown, downstairs, drawn by
that unexpected explosion.
I still see the bird lying there dazed on the living room floor.
I was terribly upset
for I have heard that birds sometimes
visit in mysterious ways and that sometimes they bode
or unnamed evil things.
I lifted the bird gently into my hand. It weighed less than one breath,
that I am still holding right now
while the heart of
The noise it comes from
that is not nearly
I touched the soft head
of the bird
trembling in my palm.
I stroked its crimson feathers.
They felt like stiff red velvet.
One wing lifted. Fluttered.
It was the color of dried blood.
As frightened as I was, I wanted to keep that bird,
Stubbornly I thought it might help
deflect some injury
that was yet to
I carried the bird through the house
how do we ever
a real disaster that is coming
our way faster than we can run?
People say no, you can’t.
People say, you ought not
to mess with fate.
Nor should you ever hold birds.
People say, they, the birds, bring exotic germs and
illness. But these are comments from
small-minded people who inhabit territories of fear, and
worry about rearguard actions.
I carried the bird to the door and placed it carefully
outside on the doormat that reads “Welcome” in rubber letters.
It was a warm bright morning. I got dressed, I made coffee.
I went to see if the bird was still there. I bet he was and
I watched while the bird stayed through breakfast,
Shifting. Poking. Pecking at things.
I ate half a buttered English muffin. I cut a tiny piece and fed it
to my new friend.
By the time I had my car keys in hand, jangling,
and I was heading out to work,
the bird was gone.
I never heard it leave or saw
But that night,
as I finally got to sweeping up the glass,
I noticed, next to one shard,
there was the black eye of the red bird
lying, staring back at me.
Suddenly, I could see myself
shattered, trapped inside the black eye of the red bird
lying, rolling around, staring back at me.