I worry about birds
born blind, their starving
nest, earth warm
with worms wide mouths won’t find
I wish them fast and down,
the tender break soon and well.
First the blind flap
from the sun,
rush of black air, passing
unaware through easy white
clouds, flight facing
every trunk in the way.
I am not brave enough to long
for blind birds to love
the night, freewheeling
with bats, seeing as they do
sound waving like wings.
That’s how bats find
blind, their sightless art,
the drop then dart. That’s how
bats, those broken birds, swim
in the dark
through the open black,
eyes wide with world unseen.
Maybe everything frail starts out fierce
and travels from the hot heavy heartbeat
of its birth back to essence—ethereal,
enduring—back to the luminous; to the thing
that pushed its bloodless way into the life
that wore it out—like the single notes
of a song sound out, first one, then
that, followed by what’s next, until what’s left
is the silent haunting, the soundless
repetitive play that leaves us here listening
to what can no longer be heard. Maybe
everything frail leaves someplace strong
beating—beating and fading away.
SUSAN CARLSON lives, works, and writes in southeastern Michigan. She has completed two years of course work in a graduate writing program and attended the Tin House and Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference summer writing programs. She has poems forthcoming in issues of Your Impossible Voice and The Switchgrass Review.