the stove had finally slept through the night.
morning rose crisp and wet. nana in the kitchen as always.
grandpa with the paper that was delivered each morning at five.
he roared for two eggs over-easy as if he were at a diner.
folding my hands i said, papitas please and thank you nana,
when something knocked with tiny fingers against the stovepipe.
my nana’s clock tweeted every hour. every hour
a different bird whistled a short song and we knew
what time it was without looking at the wall
at eight o’clock, the blue and white mockingbird
greeted us and a voice from the stovepipe answered.
it answered in a soprano thinner than cobwebs.
this bird learning to fly, its baby throat clogged with black
soot and creosote, struggled for some kind of escape,
from grandpa’s morning anger that lasted into evening.
we opened every window and he released it into the house.
it fluttered and it screamed. he chased after its frail body
with the spiky broom end. i feared he would kill it and i cried.
finally, it flew out of an open window back to the air,
back to freedom, back to its mother and the lilies,
back to its nest that it knew before it knew my grandpa.
when nana died we opened every window
so she could get out
Trapped Bird published 2014 by As/Us: Women of the World Journal