Tithing

The town waited for the birds. No: just the one
bird, its one small possibility of hatch. The cocoon
in the branches building—our whittled prayers,
the days cut away by the eagle’s shrill beak. Time
must have passed by other measures. Leftover second
graders stopped bundling up before they flooded
the woods, keeping watch on green heavens while
Miss D called late moms. Sometime that spring
the Evans kid mistook his sister’s loose blue pills
for candy. My mother’s house was packed, painted,
put up for sale—sold. We were given simple instruction:
Move quietly. Keep still. Eagles nest only once. But
a summer storm, too early, shook through—the broken
limbs of nest scattered, snapping with each violence of
stride. Or instead, a tithing. A feast of shards. And the years
ahead splayed by our patience. As if we were not already
calling: What will you make of us? What will you make?

Read on . . .

Tiny Bird,” a poem by Jim Harrison


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