The Bird Girl by Sarah White

The Bird Girl

A bird distinct from her father
or mother before her, I thought.
Fate had drawn us together
but as she grew she flew with others
of her feather. They ran into weather,
and scattered.

Maybe she wasn’t a bird, I told her.
She might be an apple. And apple she was
for a while, seeming to bloom
in a mountain orchard. I told her
my hopes: that she
wouldn’t fall too far from the tree.

When I said that, I wished I had not.
She gave me a look and changed
on the spot from an apple into a stone, plunged
to the ground, and began to roll

further and further through moss and grass—
gathering God knows what—away from the place
I’d seen her last.

But I have the address—oh yes. I send
bad poems and sage advice.
to which I get no replies
as if our bond was broken
never to mend
or, from the beginning, imagined.

by Sarah White

Editor’s Note: This poem’s extended metaphor morphs from bird to fruit to stone, but still seamlessly portrays the narrator’s emotional dismay, right up to the uncertain last line.