Embraced With Love in Death

Sitting inches above the deck’s slats

Lost in my reading,

A fluffy chickadee

Hops toward me, near,

Too near,

Barely an arm’s length away.

Bouncy jumps, flitty wings.

Uncoordinated youth.

I am startled.

Where is the flight?

“Dee, dee, dee, dee, dee, erupts

Shrill, scared, panicked melee.

My inaudible worry joins.

My curious dog comes near,

Too near.

I herd him into the house.

Leaving hope outside,

Hope that the tiny being will lift off

Into the trees, into the dee, dee, dee world above.

The next day,

The bird is in the garden.

I watch again for flight

But it doesn’t come.

The third day

The little fluff of a body

Lies almost still on her side,

On the deck.

Labored breathing

Signals the end.

Should I bring it closer

End the struggle, stop the pain?

What is the pain?

I can’t.

I reason.

Nature should

Proceed at its own pace.

It has to

Because I can’t imagine

I am capable of the violence

Necessary to bring the end.

I turn away.

The process is too hard to watch.

Trying to think of something else

Anything else.

But I can’t.

I monitor.

In half an hour

There is no breathing.

Death has come.

Now responsible to

Bury the dead.

This task comes easier.

The garden, damp from rains

Yields easily to the shovel.

In the warm summer dirt,

I scoop a cradle for

The bird’s tiny body.

Cover her with a soft brown blanket.

I feel the dirt against my skin

And think about my own body

Lying in the warm dirt,

Being held tightly,

Mother Earth pressed against me in love.

Peace pores over me

Like the sliding river over

The rock ledge

Into the calm pool.

The bird’s end, my own,

In its time.

As I have aged

I have thought about the end.

A supporter of the right to die,

I have assumed that were it to be

Clear and painful  

I would hasten dirt’s embrace.

But if I cannot bring the end nearer

For a beautiful baby bird

How will I do it for myself?