Tonight the birds are sick of being birds.
After centuries of pushing their young out of nests, flying
south to elude the mechanical clockwork of winter,
their feathers have begun molting
to reveal human skin.
They’re growing to unheard-of sizes, their claws retracting
into fingers, their bodies moving into homes
in the suburbs. I feel pity for their forgotten feathers
and the future they have chosen:
All of the bad first kisses, the wretched trips to buy sympathy cards,
insufficient season finales, resilient crabgrass, the burden of mortgages,
ill-timed Women’s Junior League meetings, in-laws at the
neighborhood barbecue, even though they didn’t RSVP.
Will there be good times? Love is good, I suppose.
There will be mornings they’ll wake beside someone and be comforted.
There will be mulberry wine and plenty of bluegrass,
coffee with the newspaper, fresh linens, long July days.
But is it better? This dearness of being human sings
with possibilities, like the blow of a train whistle in their ears.
They will hear the sound and think, It’s like an old birdsong
I once knew, and they will grieve for their sky-days,
For a baby’s first flight, a stable nest fashioned with the neighbor boy’s
bicycle streamers, wind beneath wings, the stomach-rush of looking down
while flying, of towns turned small. They will grieve until a voice calls out from
a room close by, warm and love-filled, and the only thing worth doing is to follow it.
By Meg Boyles
Meg Boyles was raised in Ridgeland, Mississippi and is a junior at Hendrix College, studying creative writing and literature. Her poems can most recently be found in The Aonian.
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