On Needing You – draft 1

Once we found a cardinal in a stairwell, trapped. We didn’t know
how it got there, but the poor red thing just beat
against the heavy storm windows with the tips of its wings–
not a barrel-chested assault, a whole-hearted
battering– but gently, in the same way that we might have
circled our arms to stay afloat in the deep end
of a pool. It was smarter than I would have been,
if I found myself stuck in an upturned glass
or an inverted test-tube, a blind alley. If it had thrown
its small red body against the pane like the sparrows
that had flown down our chimney and forgotten the way
out, it would have fallen to the floor in minutes, dead
and growing cold. Instead the cardinal rested
in the brick eaves or twisted tight circles around the ceiling,
only returning to the glass every few minutes,
as if to make sure there was still something
there, a blockade, a hardness between it and the autumn
branches. I’ve never seen a bird like that, one that knew that it was stuck.

We pried the rusted window open, wedged a two-by-four
into the space between sill and lower sash because we knew
it wouldn’t come that close to us, wouldn’t fly away
while we were there. I thought of how nobody wants to run
when they know others are watching. Weeks later, I’d fall down
half that flight, from the second floor to the first,
sprain my ankle. For weeks I couldn’t hold my own weight.

There is something here, I just know it. And it’s not there yet, not quite realized yet – mostly because the idea, the meaning, the something else is still half-formed and rolling around in the space between my ears. But there’s something.


2 thoughts on “On Needing You – draft 1

  1. There is something. I dunno what it is exactly, that’s for you to discover. But I can say it sounds lovely. It flows with little bumpage. And nothing feels cliche or hackneyed. It’s certainly enough to arouse my interest. Considering this is a draft stage, there’s a lot of good stuff to work with here if you go on to develop it further 🙂

    • Thanks so much! Definitely need to redraft and rework a bit, but getting a solid, semi-coherent something down on metaphorical paper…that’s the first step. right? Thanks again!

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