Death Listens Without Ears to the Language I Now Speak
This morning, the clatter of sparrows building
a nest in the air conditioner hauled upstairs
so you wouldn’t suffer
The velveteen chair I used to block
your access to the stairs
languishing, ever ugly, in the corner.
The comforter and pillows that retain invisible
strands of your DNA.
Your view from the window where one sparrow stayed
though I tapped then banged on the glass.
Death is the nest you built in my world.
Flannel threads, fringe from a scarf, fine white hairs
from the brush that last touched
your living head.
The work of a sparrow softens
the innards of a machine.
I once saw an octopus open a jar, a crow
use a lid as a sled to slide down
a metal roof.
Death is a tool
every animal invents.
I make a cage
for your exile and lower it over the world.
Deirdre O’Connor ’85 directs Bucknell’s Writing Center and serves as Associate Director of the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets. Her book, Before the Blue Hour, received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize and was published in 2002.