Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Maybe Sparrow" (a revision)

Because we are all works in progress, here is a revision of the poem I wrote for Charlie, in response to a blog post by Kristina Chew.

Maybe Sparrow

"I believe that the broken bird knew that it was broken." (Kristina Chew)

I am a killdeer pretending to limp,
leading danger away from our nest.

I sing the song I know best. It is not
always beautiful, but most nights it soothes

us both to sleep. This isn't about broken
things or crows. That black bird shivers

against the base of my spine. Morning
comes. A dark feather spirals to my feet.

You draw it across my cheek, flap it
in your hands, look up through the screen

of trees, a pinion primed for flight.
Sometimes I envy the mockingbird.

I thought I wrote it for her, but in fact I also wrote it for me. As a parent, (perhaps any parent, but as a parent of a child on the spectrum) I must be like the killdear mother--a ground nesting bird that when challenged by a predator will appear to be injured and limp, leading danger from her nestlings. When the predator thinks it has its meal, the killdear flies away.

"I sing the song I know best"--I am doing the best that I can. Perhaps not always the right thing, "not always beautiful", but at any moment, the best I can do for my lovely nestlings, my 2 beautiful sons.

"This isn't about broken things. . ." My life isn't defined by what we can't do, by what is difficult. Nor do I define my children's lives by what they struggle with.

"That black bird shivers. . . " But the fear is always my constant companion. Fear that I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent. Fear that my own AS blinds me to what my kids really need. Fear of what will happen in the wide world when I'm no longer around to advocate for my kids.

"A dark feather spirals. . .you draw it across my cheek" The world is full of beauty, if you know to look for it. And I share that wonder and beauty with my sons.

"pinion primed for flight" (Pinions are the bird's primary flight feathers) We are all primed for flight--made for growth and change.

"Sometimes I envy the mockingbird." The mockingbird can sing all the sounds it hears, I have one song, this one life. Sometimes I envy what my life might have been before AS entered my vocabulary. Sometimes, not all the time, not even most of the time. But sometimes, particularly when the greater world makes our lives so much more difficult than they could or should be.

I thank you, Kristina, for the inspiration to write this. May we all be "pinions primed for flight."


r.b. said...

Very good. I liked the cadence, but didn't understand "pinion" so it stopped, if you know what I mean.
I also envy the mockingbird...his song, even his curiousity. One used to watch a friend and I in our daily swim, and was very dependable.

LJCohen said...

Thanks, r.b.

Kristina Chew said...

Thanks, thanks----- The last line really sticks and I'm rolling over "killdear" in my head right now.