When the string breaks

report967Photo by Mike Clemens

The tremolo of the Common Loon and fledgling Bald Eagles became tied to my mother. I wanted Great Blue Herons for my father.

We were looking for herons, Saturday, at a wildlife refuge and found a Kite perched in a dead tree. He canted forward, hooked beak, black inquisitive eyes, intent. I stood in the road, focused on him; he focused on what I couldn’t see, swooping down once, twice, three times, to my feet. Then he took to the air and proved his name. He rose, he hovered, he shivered in the currents, and, then his wings folded, plummeted like grief. And rose again.

I never leave my phone behind, except that day. When we returned home, there was a message from my sister, who never calls. Dad was unresponsive, though restless. He had quit eating  two days before, she said, told her the previous Saturday that he felt “changes” were coming, asked her not to leave town. One of his last requests was that I read a poem at his funeral.

Thursday, my sister called, again.
That afternoon, Kites appeared over my house, half a dozen or more against a bank of building thunderclouds in the East. They swooped low, but didn’t land. As time progressed, the birds moved further off, first south of the neighborhood, then east. I found myself driving through town, on various errands, looking up. Twice, I forgot where I was going or why.

Shortly before dusk, the clouds and birds were gone, leaving the sky bereft.


4 thoughts on “When the string breaks

  1. annewlindsay says:

    Your dad’s spirit, messages from the kites, you preparing yourself to fulfill his dying wish — this part of the picture is complete. I think grief, especially for the poet, takes shape like a poem. Word, line, and verse link living and dying, ‘all our relations’ — animal, vegetable, mineral, the natural and the supernatural. I wish many good poems for you Laurie and all your relations, and your beloved father.

  2. Yes, Anne, all of that. And, thank you.

  3. redmitten says:

    oh my. the many layers of life come at us as a poem. your father, too. the connective tissue between you and your father is evident. i mean to say: i feel this. i am sorry he has passed away. this is one of the most stirring pieces you’ve shared.

    • Seems to me if we listen, pay attention, the birds and the fields, the water are always telling our stories for us. Sometimes, the dogs and the tire dropped on the towel inside our back door! All we have to do is write them. Or take their picture.

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