vale Mirka Mora
She, who was always a bird,
lived here as a member of our family. We held her,
gently around her neck, wanting her to sit with us
as we watched TV, read the Sunday papers, made pictures,
sewed, mixed a cake, dressed and undressed in the brown light.
These were the main activities of our home.
On the kitchen windowsill there were lemons,
papery garlic, a cup full of paintbrushes.
Mother looked out, over the sink, to the tops of trees.
The inside light was the colour of the river
seen from underneath.
Sometimes we squabbled, not wanting to take turns,
pulling her between us, begging her to sleep on our beds,
eat from our bowls, swim in our baths, shadow our footsteps.
We fought over which one of us she loved the best.
She loved us all silently, the quick heat of her heart
in her fluttering breast.
We never opened the windows.
We never left a door ajar.
Nevertheless, the parting.
One morning: an early wind rushed in,
we woke and knew she was gone.
She was in the tree outside, her eye was closed to dream.
All of them, my sisters and brothers,
were in the trees around the house,
I ran from window to window,
pressing myself against the glass.
We had lived together for a long time,
and so I thought of her all that day.
The birds called to each other
to love forever and ever.
I told myself I would learn
to do everything by feel, walking
the inside walls of the house
with my eyes closed, clicking my tongue like a bat,
trying to sense the edge of shadows,
the rippling of light,
in the dimness of the underneath.