“Little Bird” by Robin Turner

Robin Turner


for Artie

The hottest month of the hottest year
on record. August in Texas. Unrelenting.
Mother had died just the month before.
My mother. The world kept burning.
And on the news, on our phones, all week the photos
of treasonous men, their arrogant mugshots
marring every screen, suffocating each sensible citizen.
How to breathe through the heat, through the spin
and the grief? How to rescue from harm what one loves?
When a red-feathered bird crashed into our window, it fell
like a stone and lay motionless. Little bird, you said
and stepped out to the porch, bent to stroke, to tap tap her still chest,
brought ice, brought tenderness, prayed mercy.
In the morning you spared me
from shoveling parched earth
and gave up the lost creature to ground.
You knew, knew I would not be able to bury her—
one more once beautiful thing.

from Poets Respond
August 27, 2023


Robin Turner: “A poem of gratitude for my husband, his good heart in a time of great personal loss, of grief for our burning world and fear for the fragile future of American democracy.”

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