all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Monday, July 09, 2007

I can only be where I am




















A bird flew in the front door of my house
on a Monday afternoon.

At first, I tried to steer her back outside,
but she wouldn't have it, fluttering, instead,
toward the skylight, the window sill, the delicate
green limbs of the houseplant in the corner
of the living room, even the shadowy hiding place
between the top of the fridge and the cabinet
when the water pitchers and cocktail shakers live.

I said, "This isn't the place for you, bird."
I asked her, "Don't you think you should go back
where you came from? It's much better there."
I tried to scoop her into the skinny bamboo basket
by the door, where we keep the umbrella, but she kept flying out,
back to the branch, the Chinese lantern overhead,
the crawlspace in the kitchen, the top of the bookshelf where,
I imagine, she encountered a lot of dust.

I told her, "Look how beautiful it is out there."
I gave her all of the reasons why my house wouldn't suffice,
I counted out loud then held my breath then pointed then prayed
then said a cheer or two. The bird circled the room, then came
back to the window sill, where she shat a few times.
"Oh bird," I said.

I tried to be helpful. "Are you lost? Are you hungry?"
I gave her a lot of attention. I thought maybe she was lonely.

But the bird was neither lonely nor lost.
She didn't need anything from me.
"I can only be where I am," she said,
then flew away somewhere between
a Sex and the City rerun and the evening news,
when I was adding another load in the wash
and putting the noodles on to boil,
waiting for my love to come home.

3 comments:

Josie said...

This is very metaphorical for my life right now. I like it. I like every single thing you write, and for that, I thank you.

GailNHB said...

I agree with Josie - that piece is a lovely metaphor for life. Sometimes we just need to fly around in places that feel odd and may not fit us until we are ready to get back to where we really belong. A place where someone tries to help us find our way and then just leaves us to figure it out. A place to shit! And not have to clean it up.

Your writing is lovely, Maya. Lovely.

Gail

Anonymous said...

I, too, can only be where I am, but I am looking for a more peaceful or "comfortable" place, a place where I... I don't know, but I pray I will know it when I find it.

-g