as if I knew no better,
I walked out into the world, hoping
for the best. My gray river was shining
the way it does when rain wants to fall.
Meanwhile, the work on the bridge
goes on and on. Unending brokenness. Even so,
the red-winged blackbirds keep insisting
spring is here. They live in the river weeds
and don't know a thing about giving up. Near her end
my mother called out to birds that weren't there.
I do not understand why I must still be here,
a man said, one room down from my mother. His body
had been placed on a scale, as if being weighed
might make a difference. In her last days, my mother
mistook passing clouds for birds: of all
the mistakes I had known her to make
that last one was the most beautiful. Meanwhile,
those birds flew back into the clouds
as easily as life flies back into death.