Little Bird

by Ava Gorman
Little Bird Ava Gorman loves her dog, her older sister, and Harry Potter. Her poetry focuses on the ocean, as she plans to be a marine biologist when she grows up.

“The Cove / Its water an incredible, powerful beast / Dormant for years / Warmly welcoming her father’s fishing boat and allowing her to splash in the shallows as a child / Then suddenly awake”

     

The Cove

Its water an incredible, powerful beast

Dormant for years

Warmly welcoming her father’s fishing boat and allowing her to splash in the shallows as a child

Then suddenly awake

Awake

Awake and angry

Filled with the things people toss away

Plastic straws from summer picnics and papers with old news

It swallows all that come near

Swallows them in rising tides

And storms that have no mercy

Its waves, its hands, pound

Against rocks made smooth by weather and time

Wren

Her mother’s little bird

The one her father left behind when he found out

Left in the night in the boat that first caught her mother’s eye

She stands in the surf

Her white dress soaked through

Numb

 

Home

Her home

Its broken glass

And shells and things from the deep

Blown in from the storm

All covered in dust

A fractured nest

Since the storm

The storm that took everything

Family photos and china plates

Patio chairs and hand painted shutters

The storm that broke the glass and tore open the walls

The storm that sucked her mother into its maw

Taking her forever

And then left

Left the little bird by herself, without a mother

 

Alone she walks

The little of what’s left of her red hair

Caught in the cool summer breeze

The dust clinging to her dress

Her dress

Once so perfect

But torn and dirty now

Alone she walks

Through the town miles away from her broken home

The town of stares and whispers and pointed fingers

The town of normalcy and family dinners

Of barbecues and sunny days

The town of friends long gone

Gone, blaming her for her father’s choice

Vilifying her mother for not finding another

She’s learned to ignore it

She wouldn’t come here at all

But even little birds have to eat

 

By the market she sits

Tin can in hand

A tin can found in the wreckage of her home

The clink of people’s spare change her only hope

Relying on the guilt

Of people that call her mad

To them, she is simply a girl who went insane after the storm they barely noticed

 

Walking home

The dirt path again

Stale bread sandwich in hand

Fireflies flicker around her

Dancing in the dark of the twilit forest

Walking up the stairs

That creak and moan and bend

The door

A purple door

A rusted knob

At the table

Where she once sat with her mother braiding her hair

Red hair just like her own

But her eyes are her father’s

As the lights flickered on and off

And a harsh wind rattled the windows

The booming thunder

The crackling lightning

And clouds that can’t decide if they’re blue or gray

Now she sits

By herself

Red hair uneven

Cut by scissors she found in the bathroom

 

Trying to find sleep

On a blanket outside her mother’s door

Sleep doesn’t come

Instead come visions

Visions of running along the cove

With her mother and a faceless man

Visions of family dinners on Sundays

Her parents laughing at a joke she just told

About a pirate’s 80th birthday

And at bedtime

Her parents tell her the story of the wren

The one that wasn’t as strong or as fast as the other birds

But realized it didn’t necessarily need to be

And became king of the birds

But even in her dreams she knows none of it is real

 

Morning

The pale sunlight sneaks through the broken window

And dances upon her head

From the dust she rises

Walking out of the house

Down to the shore

The water calm and shimmering with early morning light

A washed up rowboat bobs gently on the surface

In that moment she makes a decision

Looking back at what was her home

But hasn’t been in months

 

Thinking of the possibilities

Of finding her father

Of joining her mother

She pushed off the shore

And flew away

Over the coral guts of the great beast

 

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