Elegy For A Songbird

This is the mostly-true story of my futile attempt to be a good Samaritan.  Like many mostly-true stories, it ends with a decapitation.

the finch’s prayer

on the searing asphalt,
a paralyzed finch is dying
golden on the center line.

the broken wing extends
a supplication, a benediction
while drafts from passing traffic
pull him closer to the track of tires

i run to him, raise him
crying out, unable to fight
his panicked eyes meet mine
keenly conscious of finite time

wrapping the bird in a towel,
i beg help from three men in a field
who are embarrassed enough by my tears
to pause their summer labors

we watch the slow throes
the lungs fill with blood
the men calmly repeat
“put it out of its misery”
until one takes a spade
and all the suffering
brave into his hands
and bids me “turn away”

lord, don’t be hard on your songbirds
if we are ever slowly fading!

may a kind soul uplift us
a swift edge sever all knowing
let a soft heart grieve the passing
with a garden to rest our bones