Willow Park shrouded in a dusk that shushed the monkeys. I heard the peacocks
Shuffle their wild feathers, their tiny fires of noise like flamenco’s castanets.
Our family’s pet parrot learned to cry like my brother Riley.
Even when Riley was gone, we heard him crying all through the house.
Haircuts on the back porch and towels around our shoulders. Ears glistening.
One month later: a robin’s nest rimmed with the white, fine hair of our boy.
After the bitterest winters, my father pruned the McIntosh the sparrows loved.
Their chittering high up like children playing house in a world of trees.
In those years of aloneness, the spirits of my unborn children came diving,
Drinking summer’s last sweet dark under the bridge. I mistook them for swallows.
Fireweed, bicycle, Alaska. That summer the terns haunted one curve
In a gravel path. A nest in the rocks and a mother fighting for all her lives.
September, and my son and I bury the limp finch in a shoebox filled with Black-eyed
Susans. We cradle its head a moment before the darkness comes.