“Ornithology,” by Alan Michael Parker, appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.
When a bird flew into my window
and made a hard and soft death sound,
I found her in the dirt below
and I fixed a cardboard nest for her
and fed her from an eyedropper
what the Internet suggested,
and I named her Young Self,
and when a bird flew into my living room
and frantically bumped at every corner above,
I named her Old Self,
and because height and light are
humankind’s spiritual aspiration,
I wished my hands were birds.
Luckily, it was evening,
the outside version of my sorrow:
the swallows flocked and flew
to sleep somewhere, presumably,
and every swallow was like a minute,
so I watched and tried to count, which is what I do,
despite so much of each day
happening to me,
and I fed my Young Self more sugar water
while my Old Self
beat in a corner to get out.
Purchase MQR 57:5 or consider a one-year subscription to read more. This poem appears in the Winter 2019 Issue of MQR.