A girl says, sweetly, it’s time you begin to look after me, so I may seem loveable to myself.
– Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge
Like the baby starling in the grasses learning to abandon screeching, learning the search, its difficulties and rewards.
A multitude of creatures go hungry on this dappled day when I am not lonely.
Given the functions of class and location, race and time of day, it is more probable than not that the woman strolling the human baby is not its mother. But mother to someone else. Not going hungry because there are pieces of round cereal.
When the mother starling finds a moth she makes a calling sound that is like screeching. Turns her head from side to side for the baby who has wandered off into the hunt. What of form does she recognize? Flying into proximity, beak full, she passes the dusty wings to the little one’s open mouth.
A walked dog limps on the leash, back leg useless as broken. The owner must know of its injury but seem oblivious, walking fast, talking on the phone.
The vulnerability I feel for animals does not extend to insects, reptiles, fish. But I am still moved by the story of the turtles lining up on the runway to lay their eggs.
What we mean by homing, home. The green grass smell.
The baby robin’s breast is more salmon than rust, unkempt in new feathers. It is awkward in flight. As in, it nearly flies into a girl on a bench.
A makeshift puddle from a leaking hose draws all the park birds. The keeper speaks to them as if they understand. A fly next to the girl on the bench rubs its front legs, scheming.
Upstate, mountains are to be cracked open.
A monarch flies across the tennis court, intercepting the arc of the yellow ball without decimation.
I will become exhausted by worlds. Natural gas, lovelies. What kind of wealth does it wash?
The birds shake their feathers in the muddy water. Disheveled as toddlers. Dramatic as drinking water.
To say I cannot sing is not the whole of it.
The sparrows and their darkening keep me undone.
Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, 2013) and bough breaks (Meritage Press, 2011). She is the Associate Communications Director at Corporate Accountability International where she harnesses the written word to challenge some of the most powerful and abusive corporations in the world.