Why to Bury a Parrot

When I slow for the fox crossing Grove Street
outside the house the Jehovahs hole up in
I nearly follow its wounds—
the white of its tail dimming a light
through water, through wood.

I ease off the brake, roll Grove’s hill
to the stoplight, and turn toward those cliffs
where I dropped my bird in a jewelry box,
still singing. It was winter then, ice tilting,
ice swaying like buoys between black rock.

Never was a winged thing so willing to be caged.
When the sky was a circling hawk, a human hand
brighter than sun. Escape as foreign as the perch
of a tree. This morning, fog closing down 
around the cove where the birdsong stopped,

I consider my own cargo-bay doors,
the ship in each of us sinking. The breath-held 
moments when that box just hung there
knocking its wood against ice. I would dive
through water so cold the dead never rise,

water foxhole dark, and try to stay under,
to follow that silver latch rusting at rock bottom.
I would unclasp its hymns, all those blinding notes,
but this woman’s body, this broken clay jar
is not meant to level such pressure.   end