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Bethabara Birdwoman

by David Hill

I stand on the sagging boardwalk, the splintered planks of Birdland.

Cattails rise from the brown muck, a row of turtles rest on a log
and the beaver lodge stands near the western shore.
Mallards, geese, herons, they all come here.

A faded flower wanders along, approaches me
dizzy and drowsy, she spins in the wind.

We share an affliction.

A silver bird glints on her collar, flesh rolls inside the gauze shirt.
She swipes the silver strands from her face and points to the place
she "met a Brown-headed Nuthatch this very morning."

She tells of the blue heron, how he circles Birdland pining for his dead mate.

Once, she nursed a goose with a broken wing and each year he returns to her,
stretches out that wing and honks, “Look!”

Her "friend," a belted kingfisher, followed her to Florida and led her to its
nest to show off the hatchlings. She camped in the park for two weeks,
“but after that, they make you leave.”

And this other "friend," it tried so hard to reach her in the hospital.
It was on the evening news, lying on its back in a parking lot and
she could see the goose was dying.

It goes on for some time, this monologue.
My comments dwindle.
Something is needed here, but I can not help her.

I find a way to leave.


Author's Note: Oh, I'll bet she's not like me... Oh, lonesome me - Kenny Price (sing it if you know it, you hillbilly reader)

Posted on 04/18/2009
Copyright © 2023 David Hill

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 04/20/09 at 03:16 PM

Great images of this place. The woman is fascinating and her tales. "Something is needed here," - a haunting line.

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