Greatest Hits 1989–2000
THE BIRD IS INSIDE
There are times when you recognize things
are not as they should be, that the bird
should not be on the inside sill looking out.
When the child sickened, they thought it was flu,
watched her with careful eyes, prepared
warm compresses and cold – held her,
but never considered the blood,
the journey it must make to the heart.
And the heart with its steady insistence,
its serene beat of responsibility,
could not tell them the blood it was pumping
was not good blood.
The news it contained: silent, stalking,
showed up like thunder in the tests and the child
was at risk, like the bird on the inside sill,
she was caught in the open
and couldn’t make it back to safety. The world
took a turvey spin on itself,
a movement out of its natural order.
As when the poles tilt, magnetism, taken for granted,
shifts its weight. The assumed directions of life
correct to northeast or southwest
and a new triangle locks into place. A child falls in,
like lost planes, like lost birds; a child
with faulty blood falls
into a hole in the seam of time.
As the bird, waiting, on the flaking sill,
looks out at the grass and bushes of what it is used to,
waits for something to release it, or a river of air
to follow in on a sun mote and show the way out.
Poem by CB Follett from "Greatest Hits."