Equally unpredictable and uncommon,
one of them dropped from a Tree of Heaven
onto my calloused index finger, feathered
abandon tamed by hunger and the coming frost.
A miracle, my mother wept, while neighbors
trundled from clapboard houses to witness
who’d come to visit among the shuttered factories
and a refinery belching dyspeptic American dreams.
Whose dream? Hope’s a thing with wings
says the poet, her wings clipped by circumstance
and a minister’s black veil, so the bird lived with me
for the price of seeds and astonishment.
At Fifth and Lincoln, his cage lay within mine.
The window perch, cuttlebone, and song,
even a tinny silver bell he’d beak-ring
until I’d let him fly the living room, small space
within the larger, within the great expanse
whose ends no one knows until the light itself
is whistled home to rest upon a finger,
the closed door opened then shut.