Little Bird

The Audacity of a man is a fire in the forest.  It can keep you warm, light the night, burn down habitats.

I was a little bird, cold in a tree, who forgot to fly south for Winter.  Shiver and shake I did, remnants of ice on my tiny wings.

I saw a light in the distance, the promise of warmth and melting snow.  How I did not see the fire would grow long after my frozen heart thawed.

Now it’s cold again.  The fire has climbed its heights and raged its lights and all the trees are gone, leaving only ash and cinder, 

a memory of the flame forever in the soil.

You came to me in your grandeur, all love and radiance.  How my shadows needed that light.  

But you couldn’t find your legs in the dark when the flame blocked out the sun, and you fell on me.  My limbs crushed, heart buried under bricks.  

You wanted to make a home there.  But I can’t breathe like that, pressed to the ground inhaling dirt and debris and abandoned things,  

relics of another time when love was here.  

You stole my breath and couldn't give it back and now I need new lungs for thin air.  A filter to purify black soot pretending to be clean 

in the aftermath of fire’s kiss.  

Or maybe it’s time to be a different bird who understands fire and ashes, life and death, light and shadow both.  

Maybe I can dissolve and rise again because I was a phoenix all along.

Copyright © 2021, Sheyorah Naify
Art: Little Bird by Alex Cherry.

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