Death rapped on our window at dawn
so I leapt from bed and out the door
to shoo it away.
But there, below the window,
in the morning shade of the Mulberry tree
a Western Kingbird lay.
Damn it, I cried aloud to death,
I’ve tried to keep you at bay.
How many window decals do I need
to keep them all away?
You silly thing, I said to the bird,
and scooped to pick her up.
Stunned and afraid
she fluttered her wings,
flipping helplessly in the dust.
With soothing words, i tried again.
cupping hands around my little friend.
Who showed little life.
Who looked near the end.
But I was not interested in welcoming death,
so finding a box and trying my best,
I set the bird down in a soft, cotton nest.
A gentle stroke upon her head
and down her narrow bill.
Her wide, black eyes, now closed.
Her gray and yellow feathers, still.
Death, I see, is stopping by.
So I leave the Kingbird,
– and this mourning scene –
to have a good, long cry.
For the bird,
For the world.
For death hovers over this house.
It simply can’t be helped
with a 90 year old mother about.
Although uninvited, it came for a visit.
Not much to be done
except to face it.
I returned to the box
with the poor, little bird.
And, once again, I cursed aloud.
Reaching down for one final stroke,
suddenly the Kingbird woke,
and flew in a flash
to a neighboring tree,