When the yellow bird dropped
from the tree, I did not think
to name it. Its beak clacked, its thin tongue
flickered. The gray eye was like
the lidded human eye of someone
I loved far back. The wings
beat against dirt. I did not cover it
with a leaf or prod it to stop but continued
to watch its failing heart.
After it died, I did not touch
its yellow precision but drew a careful circle
to mark its compass points—tail-feathers
fanned out, head oddly twisted,
legs gnarled as twigs—to mark
its transformation, to mark my witness.
-Alessandra Lynch (Marion County)
first published in The Cortland Review, Issue 58
Alessandra Lynch lives in Indianapolis with her husband poet Chris Forhan and sons Milo and Oliver, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate students at Butler University. She is the author of two books of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind and It was a terrible cloud at twilight. “Bird” was first published in Issue 58 of The Cortland Review.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!