Alessandra Lynch Bird by the Blue Door

Bird by the Blue Door


Only the child’s shovel will do—

neon-green, simple

light wood handle.

Behind barberry and cottonwood—I am private, tucking

the bird into snow—distant

from the house

we live in

that killed it when it veered out of its orbit,

Later I’ll clean the shovel with some fluid,

yellow, smelling bright as nails.


After the bird dropped with a thud,

the wind

dropped too.

I wanted to work my fingers through the freezing feathers,

coax the wings to fan out,

its thumbsized heart too rapidly beating,

eye open with pity,

At night, my child presses his cheek hard against mine,

his thin-walled chest against mine

till we’re doubly pulsing,

The wind's a small unbidden sound,

not grieving.


Once I could hold someone

else’s love so patiently,

distantly, you could hardly

tell it was me being loved.


I could have waited for the fox to lick

the bird’s eye closed, nudge its weight from

my doorstep, then streak off in flight,

carrying the bird in its mouth

over the fields, over the fields

to where it belonged.

I could have studied the crenellations

of the bird’s under-wing or sketched

its fine head with a charcoal stick. Or burned

the bird to a teaspoonful of ash and scattered it

over the lake.

Thrill and patter of wings. Or left

the bird where it was,

turned to other things.


Before he died, a friend stored his sculpture

Angel of Death in my house: wings tucked,

wooden shoulders hunched. His stooped frame, his shadowy face

seemed human, seemed to need consolation.

I tried to stroke his cheek,

but he was too tall and gaunt for me to reach….

My fingers grazed his stiff robes,

the bulk of him.


I have cried I have not cried enough

I have ignored the compass

blackened the map with blindness

while the worms

died in the earth they kept making

I have cried I have not cried enough

I blanketed my child

before he could think to cover himself

I thinned myself as though I were a project

deaf to the forklift and dozer

I blot out grief as snow does light

I pass through mirrors—armor-cool

not having listened to what is bodiless

and breathing


the last day of february and the barberry and snowbirds

and surveyor’s little orange and yellow flags flittering

my armor shiny bits of my helmet in pieces we are in pieces one

feathery piece of us dropped and I have been talking

so much god has vanished my words a little something to bring

to a party


Beautiful fractal—

bird with the blur for an eye, what did you

see before plummeting?— Shadow wavering

at the threshold, glommed

by light.

Later—the shock

of snow you slid into

from my light green shovel—the chilly


between branches where you might have perched

and twitched. Under berry trees sacked in white ash,

how handsome in your death-suit,

sealed clean—

Sacred as a book.


Later, in spring, it rains and rains

and the water rises

from the drainage ditch, carrying

pitch and froth and mud and melting

snow and sodden feather-sack,

the water spilling over

the bank, over the creeping things, the ivy,

snagging what it hauls itself over, dragging

bulk toward my house...pulling everything


closer to me, circling my ankles, insistently lapping....

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