Ritual Against Separation
Take one of her leopard
print high heels, and one of his
long seldom worn dress shoes.
Hang them out the bedroom window
on the extra clothesline from the shed,
so they dance in the breeze.
Once a week, pull them up, hand over hand,
so you can stuff more hair into each toe box,
hair you’ve been collecting from his hairbrush,
her hairbrush, stuffing his into her shoe,
hers into his, then lint from each of their
sweaters, and any loose threads you can pull
when you hang their wash on the line.
Each time, lower them down
a little closer to the bushes limning
the house, until you see a swirl of
grass beginning, soon mosses
and feathers too, mingling
with parental flotsam, each shoe
transformed into an aerie house
for tiny eggs that will give birth
to baby birds, all beak and need,
their cries a tenderness, a sun burst,
a glitter cascade, almost unbearable
in the fullness of its gladness.
Watch the parents guard them,
feed them, and teach them
how to fly, their larger bodies
dipping below, and bumping up
the smaller, until the currents catch
them and they glide. Call your
father Carolina Wren, House
Sparrow, Nuthatch, call your mother his
mate. Tie the ropes in a triple
knot, and hope for the best.