January 1: The Thing with Feathers

for my mother

Just yesterday it crashed on the back porch,
snowy wings pinked with blood,
snapped far on each side. The afternoon
was cold, the night would be colder,
but the thing was dead already,
gone where frost could do it no harm.

I was in bed early, could feel the wind
pushing hard on every story
of the house. Twenty feet below
my night-numb feet the thing
slept sweetly, a thing
I could not do.

And then this blue morning,
weary already with the weight
of possibility, I went to check the porch,
which was empty. A fox,
I thought, a raccoon, can't
blame them for needing to eat.

But the thin shadow
of my mother's rocking chair
was fuller somehow, and in that shade
I found it. It watched me, warm, whole,
alert, and I found I thrilled
to its every cautious step.

photograph from Bats and Swallows
original Dickinson here


P said...

Oh my. This is very beautiful. I think it's one of my faves.

Happy New Year! I am spending it reading Tumblr crushes. Oh. My. God.

Kate Horowitz said...

Really? What do you like about it? (Not fishing, just curious. It's impossible for me to know what's good and what makes sense and what's just peanut-butter-cup-fueled blathering.)

Emma said...

Hi, Kate -- I followed your comment on P's blog, and here I am, reading your lovely words. So glad to have found your blog! Cheers,

Kate Horowitz said...

Emma- Thanks for reading!

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