He did it by the storm cellar.
He filled a bucket with water, set it on the ground.
We couldn’t think of one reason
to drown little black birds.
When my sister cried, he said it had to be done.
We said we would never grow up,
that we would rather die.
We did not watch so we never knew where he put
the bodies. But his hands became powerless to touch us.
She belonged to his world in some things
this strange woman whose hands
were always leaving her side to create space,
to move things about, to bring something warm to her breast.
The next morning he cooked bacon and eggs.
He stood motionless but for one arm
scrambling eggs while mother
with fluttering hands prepared a table.
(Originally published in Primavera in the late 1980’s; won an Illinois Arts Council Award in poetry)
About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing Touches. Willingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.
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Image Credit: From Gray lady and the birds; stories of the bird year for home and school By Mabel Osgood Wright (1907) Public Domain