Today's poem is by Alison Stine

The Rescue

He brought birds, the man from the rescue:
falcon with snipped wing; hawk with hollow
for its eye, a hole sealed over, feathers filled
in. A man did this. A bullet. Lead pupil,
thumb-pinched. Birds get tangled
in the wires of our telephones. Birds get
lost in our fathers' traps, and the dotted
path of our brothers' guns, and if we find
them, they are done for. To listen how he
fed them rats. To listen how the falcon
would never fly, would live its days hopping
in the leaf-spilled enclosure, straining
for rat-bits, sunning its wings. To raise our hands
when he asked for a volunteer, and then to wait
on our knees while he choose her, shaking girl,
girl in front of the classroom. He sheltered
her in leather, a rough smock. He walked
to the end of the room with his cage,
and told her to raise her hand, and told us
to close our eyes, and before we did, we saw
her waver, the thin limb extended, buffeted,
a branch. And then there was darkness,
no sound, the rush of wings only as the owl
was released. No sound as it flew above us,
no sound as it hunted mice, no sound in the room
except for the room, no sound in the night
except for the night, no sound from the owl
except when it landed, we heard the girl. That no.

Copyright © 2009 Alison Stine All rights reserved
from Ohio Violence
University of North Texas Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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