I thought she was listening when I told her about a baby bird that fell
Into my yard on Thursday morning. How I put it in a small box with soft socks,
And dripped sugar water into its yellow beak that opened wide when I said,
“But where’s the mother bird?” she said.
Close by, protective, watching, nurturing, loving. I told her.
“Hmmm,” she said.
It’s hard to be the kind loving caring one when you’re
Black and blue on the inside and each time you speak even
In the nicest way the words are sorted through like a coroner
Slicing open a fresh heart, looking for the defect that made it stop beating,
Finding the flaw and pronouncing the cause of death
With pride. Only this death –
Killing of a soul – has been a long time coming
Like a coroner making a thousand cuts over time instead of one
Big cracking open of the rib cage and cutting into the heart
Although that would be bad enough.
Any loving caring person – me, you, because we’re human
And have big big hearts (ask anyone who knows us) will bleed
Like we bleed. No coagulation. No time to process pain. Little invisible rivers run
From us, sometimes in drips sometimes raging and really not invisible enough.
I see them. I know you do too.
Stopping any bleeding is temporary and it feels good –
Empowering, like my brain knows how much better than this I am and how
I’m above all that crazy-making negative mess but that feeling –
One I think will last forever, never does and it’s back down the well
Falling fast until I grab a rope made of words (from you mostly) that lift me out.
And sometimes I catch you on your way down. Stop.
There is no one but that one who lives smack in the middle
Of concentric gray circles that matter more than gratefulness for everything good
That was and is because nothing is good anymore and maybe it wasn’t ever.
Not good enough anyway. Like us.
What about us?
What about everyone else?
What about a baby bird I saved for three days from predator crows?
She says, “What bird?”
I say, “Exactly.”
June 6, 2016 Jackie Hirtz