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Sonnet: “The Beating Wings”

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Solitary (Close)

Here is a close-up of the same white egret which stood in the waters of Milford Sound, New Zealand. My daughter Jessica, who paused at the water’s edge and watched the scene with me, loves birds. She lives in California now, while I teach English in Turkey.  She just turned 20 and studies languages such as Arabic and Spanish. I miss her and am writing my way back for a visit!  Turkey is half a world away from California, about as far away as New Zealand . . .

Here’s a poem I wrote about a girl, dying of cancer, who also loved birds:

“The Beating Wings”

(for Kristen

who died of leukemia

at age 12)

She sat, a scarecrow in a slit-back gown:

Trans lucent skin, her fingers stretched like nails.

She reached to me beside the silver rails.

And when she turned, her head bobbed up and down;

The blood shone on her teeth, like web spun ’round.

The thread, that pain, it wrapped her eyes–once pale–

And pupils swallowed blue in one dark veil.

I watched–she seemed to speak–there was no sound.

Kristen, I remember when we saw the birds

In cases, stuffed, their eyes unblinking glass;

An egret, its wings like crystal, seemed to rise.

You spoke its name, I leaned to catch the word;

It was yourself you called–Oh, you flew past–

I saw the beating wings behind your eyes.

***********************************************

From my true cancer survival book, Crossing the Chemo Room.

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