this bird as a pulse in the box

in my hands. the light breeze


a day of nothing in particular except this fallen—

the one the cat punctured or the one who tried


flying—no, he is too near featherless, too small

a pink throb all tendon and mouth


in the box held to my body shaking

until my mother gently lifts the box from me


its frame so slight on the cool tiled porch.

now, the eyedropper she lets me hold, filled with


something and held above to calm the tiny cry.

This is my first failure: the slow drop


placed in his open beak which will pour out his nostrils

and the cry slowing and the dark spot deep


in my belly slowly spreading 



originally appeared in Chautauqua, issue 9