March 26, 2023

To Be Alive

Two dead birds in two spring days,
sleek feather balls like dream symbols,
a damaged sparrow on my doorstep
presented by Midnight the half-stray
and a perfect cedar waxwing
in the middle of the pavement
lying dead of poisoned berries.

I discarded their bodies
as if removal from foot traffic
could honor pain and shortened lives.
Am I asleep and dreaming, or not?
When it began to rain I met
my neighbor Dan who told me
his fourth friend in as many months

died of an overdose or drink.
Open coffins then, sleep’s images.
What does it mean to be alive
in this leafy world where song birds
are flying through Memorial Day?

My heart is steadily beating.
“So sorry for your loss,” I say.