The past lies in her hand like a dead bird, feathers spread,
feet covered in dust. It frightens her, but still she holds it.
Into the sadly turned nape, she reads her own failings,
in the steely blue-black wings, her own stiff desire, the need
she has to be held. This is ridiculous! she tells herself. Mad
flies circle her hand. I’ll change this, find something better—
a coin, a forsaken toy, a wildflower. Yet this dead bird becomes
so much a part of her—her lips now a beak, the turn of her head
a bob. Her mother a woman nesting on a couch. Her father
with eyes of sharp obsidian, blustering amidst a crowd
of strangers. A trill, whirs, a sharp chirp. There’s so much
grit in the years. This morning she looked at old photos,
starchy shots, her mother with a hand on her shoulder.
The day beckons. A car passes. The present squirms
like a deer mouse, pushing its nose on her palm,
deeper in color, insistent, perhaps kinder. Morning
split with bird calls, the underside of everything revealed.