Skip to content →

Bird by the Blue Door


Only the child’s shovel will do—

neon-green, simple

maple handle.

Behind barberry and cottonwood, I am private, tucking

the bird into snow, far

from the house

that killed it when it veered out of its orbit.

Later I’ll clean the shovel with yellow

fluid, smelling bright as nails.


After the bird dropped with a thud,

I wanted to work my fingers through the freezing feathers,

coax the wings to fan out,

its thumb-sized heart too rapidly beating,

bleary eye half-open,

but there was no touching it.

At night, my child presses his cheek hard against mine,

his ribs against mine

till we’re doubly pulsing.

The wind’s a small unbidden sound,

not grieving.


I could have waited for the fox to lick

the bird’s eye closed, nudge its weight from

my doorstep, then streak off,

carrying the bird in its mouth

over the fields

to where it belonged.

I could have studied the crenulations

of the bird’s underwing or sketched

with a charcoal stick its fine head. Or burned

the bird to a teaspoon of ash and scattered it

over the lake.


Once I could hold someone

else’s love so patiently,

distantly, you could hardly

tell it was me loving.


I have cried I have not cried enough

I have ignored the compass

fractured the map with blindness

while the worms

died in the earth they kept making

I have cried I have not cried enough

I blanketed my child

before he could think to cover himself

I thinned myself as though I were a project

I blot out grief as snow does light

I pass through mirrors—


the last day of february and the barberry and snowbirds

and surveyors’ little orange and yellow flags flittering

my armor shiny bits of my helmet in pieces we are in pieces one

feathery piece of us dropped and I have been talking

so much god has vanished my words a little something to bring

to a party


Beautiful fractal—

bird with a blur for an eye, what did you

see before plummeting?—shadow wavering

at the threshold, glommed

by light.

Later—the shock

of snow you slid into

from my green shovel—the chilly


between branches where you might have perched

and twitched. Under mulberry trees sacked in white ash,

how handsome in your death-suit,

sealed clean—


In spring, it rains and rains

and the water rises

from the drainage ditch, carrying

pitch and froth and mud and melting

snow and sodden feather-sack,

the water spilling over

the bank, over the creeping things, the ivy,

snagging what it hauls itself over, dragging

the bulk toward my house…pulling everything


closer to me, circling my ankles, insistently lapping….

from Pretty TripwireFind more by Alessandra Lynch at the library

Copyright © 2021 Alessandra Lynch
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Alessandra Lynch Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.