1 My mother always called it a nest, the multi-colored mass harvested from her six daughters' brushes, and handed it to one of us after she had shaped it, as we sat in front of the fire drying our hair. She said some birds steal anything, a strand of spider's web, or horse's mane, the residue of sheep's wool in the grasses near a fold where every summer of her girlhood hundreds nested. Since then I've seen it for myself, their genius— how they transform the useless. I've seen plastics stripped and whittled into a brilliant straw, and newspapers—the dates, the years— supporting the underweavings. 2 As tonight in our bed by the window you brush my hair to help me sleep, and clean the brush as my mother did, offering the nest to the updraft. I'd like to think it will be lifted as far as the river, and catch in some white sycamore, or drift, too light to sink, into the shaded inlets, the bank-moss, where small fish, frogs, and insects lay their eggs. Would this constitute an afterlife? The story goes that sailors, moored for weeks off islands they called paradise, stood in the early sunlight cutting their hair. And the rare birds there, nameless, almost extinct, came down around them and cleaned the decks and disappeared into the trees above the sea.
Deborah Digges - 1950-2009
See how the first dark takes the city in its arms and carries it into what yesterday we called the future. O, the dying are such acrobats. Here you must take a boat from one day to the next, or clutch the girders of the bridge, hand over hand. But they are sailing like a pendulum between eternity and evening, diving, recovering, balancing the air. Who can tell at this hour seabirds from starlings, wind from revolving doors or currents off the river. Some are as children on swings pumping higher and higher. Don't call them back, don't call them in for supper. See, they leave scuff marks like jet trails on the sky.