Bird Bones by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

Bird Bones

You were born with bird bones,
strong, hollow, light enough

to let you fly, like the crows
on our maple who squawk and scatter

with every honked horn
but return in the quiet,

determined to stay. I’ve read
crows study faces, remember

what we do, hold us accountable,
and I hope your memory

is shorter,
that you’ve forgiven me

my one long strand of hair
wound around your newborn

finger, turning it blue,
the grief it took us

forty-five minutes to find,
stripping you naked, unraveling

the cause of all
those tears, and I know

what the crows know: that we line
our nests with the bones

of our ancestors and the fallen,
defending our murders,

pulling them deeper
into our folds.

by Marybeth Rua-Larsen, first published in the Wickford Art Association’s Poetry and Art Exhibit book and the anthology Poeming Pigeons.

Editor’s Note: This poem is one long exhalation. The juxtaposition of bones, hair, and birds with a child and a parent’s worry is breathtaking because it slips emotion in through the spaces of the narrative.

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