Suza Lambert Bowser
Decatur Prison - March 2013
While standing in line, I spot a red cardinal
now dead and nesting in a litter 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 dessicated leaves. So,
like the audio overdubs I've recorded,
I cover this video with remembered sounds from outside.
"Look!" One prisoner exclaims, "A hummingbird!"
The other women sigh a cute and tragic "Awwwww."
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-thing tubular beak.
It's a hummingbird all right and by God.
Silent swirls of dead leaves grace this humbug delicacy.
Like the cardinal, I'm the redfaced oaf fallen beside a fairy