BIRD WOMAN (by Ruth Marshall)

When will you fly?

I sit beside you,
bird-woman,
and touch your little-claw hand.
You turn,
your eyes still beautiful,
and gaze at something I cannot see.
Stick legs lead you
on a hollow-boned stumble
down the ward.
Your bird-heart races.
You watch the sky
and clash against the glass.
Come, let me hold you.
Rest in my cupped hands
till your tiny heart is still.
Bird-mother,
Helen,
your body has adapted to the air.
When will you fly?