she is planting
 the dead birds
 in the back garden
 imagines delicate
 plumed stems
 sprout in moist soil.
 there is a place
 below where bones
 reknit, grow flesh
 become the small buds
 of unhatched warblers.
 it is a cosmology
 made up, a child’s
 mystery emblazed
 with wonder.
 I can hear them
 singing in the dirt
 she says.
 tomorrow we will
 dig them up
 paint the faithless sky
             with feathers
 why did you think
 he could save you
 poets are not known
 for kindness
 risk only words
 betray themselves
 for an image
 a line like
 sharpened glass
 you were drowning
 and he was far away
 writing an ocean
 composing the sky

 pretty things
 don’t know if
 it’s finished yet
 this pretty thing
 I’m working on
 has ignored me for days
 is out prowling
 the village
 may return with
 a live bird
 in its jaws
 a small dismembered
 rodent. . . one can
 only hope.
 is it too much to ask
 for a few stolen lines
             a stray image
 pray it doesn’t
 scavenge too close
 to the heart of the night
 grow blind
 with darkness
 bring nothing back
 but hunger 

Born (1951) and raised in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, Ken Cathers has a B.A. from the University of Victoria and a M.A. from York University in Toronto. Has been published in numerous periodicals, anthologies as well as seven  books of poetry,  most recently Letters From the Old Country with Ekstasis Press. Lives in the country with his family and his  trees.

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