One Hundred Birds

a slap that sounds like something dropping
hitting the kitchen tiles and scattering
means Elsie has dropped the soup stuff in its plastic packaging

mother frowns, sweeps up “bits and bobs”
puts aside what is left—what stayed within the
factory sealed, surgically sterile
modern-family-friendly pack

Elsie stays to count the bobs
the bits, and organise them carefully
according to colour,
according to shape and size and
trustworthiness of demeanour

but these brown beans are turning black
Elsie frowns the way her mother did—
something new is being revealed!
These are not bobs but little houses!
these black bits are little birds!

Out they come—one, two, ten,
More!
Mum! Mum!
The bits and bobs are tiny black birds!
They were waiting for the winter,
they came from over seas, and over land
beyond the grocery store they came,
from Somehere, Somewhere

And now they’re here and saying hello,
twenty, thirty, a hundred!
One hundred birds are flying away,
out the open door!
Away they go,
bye-bye!
Away,
Where to,
and in such cold,
Only the Lord can know.

 

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