Beneath the covers my sister sobbed
when a hard spring rain crashed against
the window, while in the kitchen, oatmeal
burbled in a pot that Grandma stirred.
What’s wrong, I asked, and she cried
and said there’s a nest in the tree outside
with naked baby birds that will drown when
it fills with rain and I can’t do anything to
help them, and I could do nothing to help
her but add my tears to hers by the handful,
like Grandma adding raisins to the oatmeal.
She was older than me though no more
than six and her age gave weight to her
words, so from that day on I trusted no one
to tend the innocent which included the
two of us.
When I was big I made a nest; wove twigs
so the ends pointed out not in, and I forged a
lightening rod of prayer to ground the holy
impassivity for all unfledged, then peopled the nest
with naked babies of my own who refused
to stay small, growing past what I could cover,
and they did what they were supposed to do;
they feathered, flapped and flew.
I warbled all the worry of a lifetime as one
followed the other from here to where and
none looked back. Then a hard spring rain began
to spill from my eyes, and looking down to where
I thought it would pool and rise, I saw it leak
through, as the rain in the nest outside the
window at Grandma’s house had done,
which we would have seen, my sister and I,
if we’d been taller.
© dana hughes 5.5.14