March 9, 2012

Janet McCann

LIFE LIST

My friend the scholar-birdwatcher
is dying, after a quiet regular life
of Milton and birds, and if I could

imagine him a farewell, it would be this:
to look out into the small yard
he tended for forty years, to where

he placed the bird houses, the martin
house and the hummingbird feeder,
just in time to see a sweep of air

curve in and take form, the great arctic gyrfalcon
not on his life list, there on the sill,
beak, feathers and pinions

and final knowledge, Adam’s homecoming
after the story’s end, better than Eden.
May he leave in his hand a feather, that his wife

might know where he has gone.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2005
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