In the Nest

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




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