"As the news unfolded over the day, my husband, John, and I attempted to live as we always live, all the while trying to take in the horror of the story of a Connecticut elementary school under siege. By the end of the day, I had the foundation of this poem. As is often the case, poetry offered a safe place to go with my overwhelming feelings of sorrow along with my gratitude for my life and my children. Today is the 5th Anniversary of the Newtown shooting." POB
The birdfeeders have been empty for over
three weeks. Last evening sparrows,
brown and forlorn as the broken leaves
scattered across our lawn, hovered
above the feeders and poked the darkening air,
only to fly far from the ice-shorn marsh
behind our house.
Feeding the birds is my job at this house
of ours, which is one story and just right
for the two of us now, without the boys
whose tossed-off sneakers rerouted the way
through our old rambling Cape, whose voices
could jar even those beyond noise, who wrestled
the furniture along with themselves
onto our hardwood floors, until one by one,
tall then as men, and wise, they packed up
their childhood, paused for a hug and left
that big house stone-still.
Here from our low perch we glimpse them
now and then, their own fledglings
not far behind, sneakers in hallways …
piles and piles of them …
jostling for space, poised for flying.
This afternoon my husband says
before I can say what is always mine to say ,
Let’s fill the birdfeeders today.
Without more being said
we haul on our hats and coats,
click the door closed
on the unfolding news
of the first graders, silent now,
sneakers snug on their feet,
and head to the feeders aloft
on the winter-bright air.