when the bird was just a fledgling

slight wings betwixt downy layers

mother dearest told him to fly

father returned home from winter

red chest thrumming deeply with pride

for a journey not yet begun

the bird teetered on the nest’s edge

peering over the prickly ridge

into the wide world of color

the bird knew not of whence it came

or the wherefores of such conceits;

the wind never taught him writing

but it arrived like the snow of

nineteen hundred and ninety six:

sudden, cold, blinding, and poisoned

and the father grew impatient

told the mother to push the bird

and it was shocking when she did

but when the bird did not fly

he saw identical snowflakes

bustling in the wind in pairs

the wind tossed him as he wondered

it tossed him through the wash cycle

and when he dried he was flying

he was flying with a snowflake

it seemed vaguely familiar

but he’d not seen snow before this

he closed his eyes and felt the high

high heights of apple trees not seen

and nests made in the dark of night

he opened his eyes and landed

clumsily on shotgun lake’s bay

for the snowflake had dragged him here

the snowflake floated above the

water and told the bird to look

on top of the frozen ridges

and the bird did as he was told

and even though he knew not of

reflections, he saw something new

a larger bird with a darker

chest thrummed with the final notes of

a bird’s winter song gone awry

alone once more on the forest’s

floor, ensconcing another one’s

downy corpse, wings broken in snow

and then the fledgling realized

that his father pushed him to fly and

his mother allowed him to fall away

the bird dove into the pond

ridding himself of his feathers

molting out of shot gun lake and

into the winds of the writing

foretold by the blizzard’s conceit

of a father who pushed the bird


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