Suza Lambert Bowser
Decauter Prison- March 2013
“Lift me Like a Leaf” (After Shelley)
While standing in line, I spot a red cardinal
Now dead and nesting in a little of leaves
My neck cranes brokenly, struggling to see beyond the prison glass.
Here inside, I can’t hear the paper scrape,
The whisk and hush of desiccated leaves.
So, like the audio overdubs I’ve recorded in my life
I cover this video with remembered sounds from outside.
“Look!” one prisoner exclaims, “a hummingbird!”
The other women sigh a cute and tragic “Awwww.”
These girls don’t know shit about birds, I gloat
Noting the red feathers melting soggy against the skeleton.
But, then I see it:
A tiny shadow on the concrete ledge,
A smudge, a fluttered shape
The needle-thin tubular beak.
It’s a hummingbird all right and by God.
Silent swirls of dead leaves grace this humbling delicacy
Like the cardinal, I’m the red-faced oaf fallen beside a fairy.