Goslings

It was a baby blackbird that dropped

out of the tree and then another

warm breasted as dumplings of wool

 

The cats nearly got them and then I saw

one had probably broken a leg

but it didn’t complain just looked

 

Up at me with button black eyes

and I felt like an old woman

whose milk has dried up

 

And who never had a mother of her own

that she could remember to take care of her

when I fell off the bike and had to walk home

 

Trembling as I took them to a neighbor

who had parakeets and an empty cage

and brought them birdseed and some water

 

And said she would phone someone

who looked after injured birds

to come and see what she could do

 

But she never came and the next time

I met my neighbor hurrying in the street

she said that they had died and that

 

Wild creatures could not survive

in captivity no matter what their condition

and I wonder whether when I turned my back

 

What their parents (and the parakeets) had thought

about that watching them struggle for life and about

my own three whom I’d walked away from after the divorce

 

To survive in a world which suddenly

was changed forever like falling out of a tree.

One who dusted off his wings and flew away

 

Another still standing flapping, falling

flapping and falling vainly for the nest

and the third, all his life a gosling

 

Wounded and in pain who seemed to say to me

please pick me up and other words I can’t explain

I think I’ll never ask my neighbor’s help again

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© Johnmichael Simon

2007

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