* * *
She wants to know why the hawk is in a cage—
this august assemblage of talons and feathers,
hooked beak, preternatural stare.
She wants to know why it isn’t circling
with the crows overhead, taunting with calls
as they drift on spread, still wings.
It had an accident with a car I say,
kneeling down to share her world view.
Look: she only has one wing.
Like lightning, I see the affinity forged
between small beings navigating a realm
where bad things happen to beautiful birds.
Her callow heart is a breeder reactor
of compassion, churning out electric hope
for a commutation of carnage.
All day, it plays across her face: the quest
for some Rube Goldbergian solution
to this impairment, this insoluble sorrow.
That night, it begins: muscles twitch,
lids flutter like readying wings, heart pounds
with the first leap from the cliff.
And I know that she is lifting the bird up,
carrying it to the clouds, soaring so high
that she will never hear my warning:
that holocausts do not have happy endings,
that there is no solace in becoming
a second wing for a broken world.
* * *
The Tao of Flight
A quick flight of fancy, a long flight of stairs
that lead to a dark room where nobody cares.
The bumblebee’s flight: an amazement of strings,
the flight of nostalgia that holidays bring.
The flight of young victims from bullies in halls,
the flight of your heart when the hospital calls.
The flight of deep rivers toward vast, surging seas,
migrations of fall geese, in long flying vees.
A flight of Valkyries, a flight of free thought,
the flight of free minds from the folly they’re taught.
The flight of spry sprinters around a racetrack,
the flight from Gomorrah without looking back.
The flight of my soul when a poem warbles there,
the flight of her fingers on glass beads, in prayer.
The refugees’ flight from a war-stricken place,
the flight of tornadoes across the earth’s face.
The flight of a baseball through bright lights at night
or fingers on keyboards—a black-and-white flight.
The flight of mosquitoes through hot summer air,
the flight of a bullet, the ache of despair.
The tao of existence, the two sides to flight:
one hurries from darkness, the other toward light.
* * *
B. Fulton Jennes is the Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, Connecticut and serves as poet-in-residence for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her poems have or will appear in The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Night Heron Barks, Connecticut River Journal, ArtAscent, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Naugatuck River Journal, Frost Meadow Review, and other publications, and her poem “Lessons of a Cruel Tide” was awarded first place in the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition in the rhyming poetry category. Jennes’s chapbook, Blinded Birds, will be published by Finishing Line Press in the fall of 2021.
featured photo by Susie Brillheart Buckley