The True Names of Birds

There are more ways to abandon a child
than to leave them at the mouth of the woods.
Sometimes by the time you find them, they’ve made up names
for all the birds and constellations, and they’ve broken
their reflections in the lake with sticks.

With my daughter came promises and vows
that unfolded through time like roadmap and led me
to myself as a child, filled with wonder for my father
who could make sound from a wide blade of grass

and his breath. Here in the stillness of the forest,
the sun columning before me temple-ancient,
the wonder is what I regret losing most; that wonder
and the true names of birds.

~~ Susan Goyette ~~

© 2012 Michelle Payne

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