Dum Spiro Spero

By Erin Belieu

 Come, Lord, and lift the fallen bird
Abandoned on the ground;
The soul bereft and longing so
To have the lost be found…

Before the movers came,
we found the sparrows’ nest

concealed inside the chive
plant on the patio.

And the bald chicks there
calling, unfledged, undone.

Love, the mean days collecting
scored us, and hourly

such years: we feel too much

assembling what our world
got wrong; black artery

of wires, branched hazard, rat
stinking in the beams. Wrong as

your mattress on the floor,
walls where the only stud

sinks into a metal grief.

Take this distance as you go,
Love, which is my faith, tedious,

steady, like scraping gum
from a shoe. Strong as a cobweb,

I give you this durable string.

Because I remember you:
who saves the sparrows;

the chicks calling and calling
and you who won’t forget them;

have seen the ghost who rents
your eyes dissolve when

your face turns to the light.

Today, I watched the other birds
who lived this winter

peppering our tulip tree. The buds’
tough seams begin to crack.

Ordinary. No sign to read, I know.
But while we breathe, we hope.

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