I scare away rabbits stripping the strawberries
in the garden, ripened ovaries reddening
their mouths. You take down the hanging basket
and show it to our son—a nest, secret as a heart,
throbbing between flowers. Look, but don’t touch,
you instruct our son who has already begun
to reach for the black globes of a new bird’s eyes,
wanting to touch the world. To know it.
Disappointed, you say: Common house finch,
as if even banal miracles aren’t still pink
and blind and heaving with life. When the cat
your ex-wife gave you died, I was grateful.
I’d never seen a man grieve like that
for an animal. I held you like a victory,
embarrassed and relieved that this was how
you loved. To the bone of you. To the meat.
And we want the stricken pleasure of intimacy,
so we risk it. We do. Every day we take down
the basket and prove it to our son. Just look
at its rawness, its tenderness, it’s almost flying.
Copyright © 2017 by Traci Brimhall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 26, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Watching my son encounter the world has taught me a dynamic kind of joy. He wants to know the world with such a ferocious intimacy, and it makes me want to know the world that way, too. To be willing to look at the awful vulnerability of hatchlings. To risk my heart on foolish and necessary miracles like love.”
Traci Brimhall is the author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). She lives in Manhattan, Kansas.
Date Published: 2017-09-26
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/fledgling