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A Poem for Mother’s Day

May 3, 2010

it is quiet now after the train goes past
shaking the house rocking the baby back to sleep
it is quiet now except the steady buzz
of the air cleaners and the occasional truck
on the freeway

it is quiet now he is not snoring the
baby is not crying the cat is not
yearning to join us inside
the cat has been locked out of our
room allowed only to brave through the cat door into limbo
he brings us too many treasures
half dead half alive voles rats
gophers at night birds during the day
he brought down a seagull once
left it on the deck outside the bedroom

the little birds i try to salvage
pry the teeth off the hummingbird
place it shocked but alive in a box with a towel on
the stove check for rustlings i
am tempted to keep it what’s more
exotic than la chuparosa bird of
love in my bedroom? but i always
open the box let the hummingbirds fly off
even the one with only one leg
he was
loose in the high ceilinged bedroom
i opened all the windows
scavenged for red clothes, red hats, sweatshirts
hummingbirds are attracted to red pink magenta
suspect they’ll find nectar there
but this one he keeps banging his head
on the ceiling balding the feathers drift down
with a broom i finally guide him out

this year the little mockingbird tempts me
his feathers haven’t grown in quite yet
he has fledged left the nest
the electrician wants to know this and that
and careful i say there’s a baby bird there by your foot
don’t step on him

i have had luck with birds before
taking my shirt off placing it on the bird
in the dark the bird is calm and can be
moved but i resist revealing my breasts bare and engorged
with milk i know the bird will be
stepped on and i do pick him up in my hands

i already have one baby in the house
he is 8 months old and sleeping
i cannot keep this baby this bird and
the world has so many mockingbirds
already but
was this one born of the parents
i watched mating between the roses?
was this one from the nest in
the jasmine by the hot tub?

the electrician is asking me questions and i
am consumed by the bird knowing that
to put him down even with the
parent screeching nearby is to invite death
he is soft in my hands the bird
so fragile i hold him gentle and he jumps
lands by the electrician’s foot
i can’t leave him there and resume talking
the milk says i must return to my own child
the bird goes on the ground under the
sycamore
later with my baby in my arms i find his stubby feathers
i want to tell the mama i tried but how would she ever understand

i hold my little redhead close
stay with me my son
don’t ever leave my breast

poem copyright by Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator from the 3:15 Experiment August 2004 as published in between sleeps entheos press 2006

for more poetry, check out the page above or take a ride on the poetry train

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2010 11:10 pm

    That is a beautiful poem, so carefully made to express the idea round the central image.

  2. May 9, 2010 11:18 pm

    Several days ago, I found a big baby crow that fell out of the nest sitting among the leaves in our avocado orchard. I put food & water out for him but he would not take any while I was there. The crow family cawed a lot when I went near him, so I hoped they were feeding him. He seemed stronger yesterday, tried to peck me when I tried to feed him, but today I found his wings & a bloody leg bone in another part of the orchard. It could have been a coyote or hawk that got him, but my prime suspect is the neighbor’s cat, the one I see lurking near nests & gopher holes in the springtime.

  3. May 14, 2010 12:02 am

    You have to look after your own babies. Happy mothers day (bit late). Very interesting poem.

  4. May 14, 2010 1:27 am

    belated happy mother’s day. this is lovely. the connection with the birds, the earnest longing to preserve life.

  5. May 19, 2010 8:03 pm

    I love it: babies and baby birds. It must be the maternal “instinct” in us which makes us protect rather than conquer.

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