Interrupted — A Poem

“Eastern Chipmunk” — C.Birde, 9/20

No longer

can I write here,

beneath the shaded

pergola,

blooming with the hum

of bees and the scent

of Virgin’s Bower

as that flowering vine

casts off its petals

like late summer

snow.

No.

You misunderstand.

It is, now, no less

lovely, no less

pleasant;

but the task of fitting

thoughts to words

and words together

has been usurped.

Wait…

Again,

and yet again –

interruption.

The bowl of peanuts

swiftly empties.

Restraint.

Patience.

Calm.

Fine words, indeed;

but ill-fitted to

a chipmunk’s mouth

and never ceasing

needs.

— C.Birde, 9/20

Burden — A Poem

“Peaches” — C.Birde, 9/20

Firm as fact.

Sweet as certainty.

My knife parts velvet skin,

slices through yielding flesh

to bite the channeled stone within.

Each taste, ripe and real.

Triumph over falsehood.

Antitoxin to hate.

Each taste, a tonic to these days

of discord.

Burden me –

O please, I beg you

burden me with the blessing

of Summer’s remaining peaches,

and I may indeed survive…

“Sliced” — C.Birde, 9/20

Threnody — A Poem

“Mourning Dove” — painting by Marie Nonnast Bohlen

My grief

is a mourning dove,

all hollow bones &

feathers.

Winged.

Near-weightless.

Poor tender, disconsolate

creature.

She curls talons against

her perch –

my heart –

pierces that soft muscled

chamber &

coos a mournful

song.

— C.Birde, 8/20

Depart/ed — A Dream

“Road” — C.Birde, 8/20

As in the way of dreams, two realities –

he has died;

he walks, straight and tall, beside me.

In death, two versions, also –

the one, all six-foot-tall of him rolled on his side

and bent in awkward, fetal curl,

hooked in blue-tinged dark to chirping, electric machinery;

the other, seated on ivory leather couch, in sunlight drenched,

a shotgun gripped, tripod-like, between legs and knees;

his long toes feel and finger the trigger’s curve.

In both cases, one consistency –

he is alone.

And yet,

and yet

Together we walk this long road of soft pale soil

that uncurls toward the huddled town below.

As that unknown hamlet slowly resolves,

he tells me of his death,

his dying;

of the messages he left for her

– the youngest –

to find.

Clues.

Scrawled in small, cramped hand on slips and scraps of paper,

neatly folded into white envelopes to be opened

– one each year –

on his death day’s anniversary.

We walk together, he and I.

I hear his voice — a rasp against my ear —

and the ocean’s waves that break themselves

against gray sea walls.

And, as in the way of dreams,

though separated by time, location, distance,

I see her

– the youngest –

in open room full of soft-lit windows;

see her lean against that same couch of ivory.

Though separated,

I see her finger run beneath an envelope’s flap and

break the seal.

Excitedly, she reads;

while he and I reach the outskirts of that sleepy town.

Here, the air smells of salt and sea.

Here, the wind finds my hair, my cheek.

And here, undeterred, he walks beside me;

but no longer does he

speak.

— C.Birde, 8/20

Together — An Image

“Wood” — C.Birde, 7/20

“Together,” she sang,

  “Always together. 

Regardless of where we stand.

  We walk together.

Hearts. Thoughts.

Hands forever at work.

Each act and choice and step

a kiss, a bruise pressed

to this precious skin of land.”

— C.Birde, 7/20