The Stone Ledge
Jennifer Angelina Petro
The slant of light upon the grass
Where tattered tapestries of autumn leaves
Rise and fall, reveals the bones
Of a long since dead bird.
How is it I never noticed it before?
How is it I never stopped to grieve the leaving
Of this winged being?
Oh, I am busy, I know, but I do
Almost always look down when I walk,
So why? Why did I not see?
Perhaps before it died I could have
Done something to help it live, take
It to a sanctuary or aviary,
Perhaps, at very least, I could have given
It a proper burial.
Now its bones, brittle, air-gone,
Lie in a little heap, wings fanned out
There is no going back.
There is no back to go back to.
However, there is a point of no return.
The way ahead is dark, empty
Of sky and wind, the way ahead
Is bones revealed in autumn,
The way ahead is wings spread
Without sky, without the holy
I turn, bend close, go ahead
And lift the dead bird in my hands,
Carry it to the stone ledge, retrieve
A garden shovel, dig, let my nose run,
Place the skeleton down as gently
As I possibly can, return the earth,
Bless the leaving, cover the hope
Of ever flying again.