Poem: Fallen Wings

I found two crow wings in the woods,
a few thin bones
and other feathers scattered around them.
The wings are still connected to one another
with some fragile ribs and shoulder bones.
I think about leaving them there,
black feathers sinking
into the leaves and stones.
Then I realized that this is one of those
peculiar and powerful discoveries
I may never make again in my whole life.
And so,
I pick them up
and carry them back through
the trees with me
wondering what happened
to this bird
and thinking of the other crows
at the compost pile
who might miss it,
someone’s parent or sibling crow
who hatched and grew and flew
in these woods.
One of our home crows,
I say.
The wings are worn at the top edge
where they connect,
the bones are twisted
so they cannot lie flat.
They catch the air and lift gently
as I walk.
There is still flight left in them.
For a fleeting moment,
I can feel what it must be like
to spread my wings
and glide
across an open field
sunshine on my feathers
and freedom as my guide.
I will take them back
to the shed in which I keep a heron’s wing.
I will salt the ends and then decide
whether I will make something with them
or just leave them
to hold their own memories
and their mysteries.
It is good to love a place,
to know its crows and stones,
its trees and stories.
It is good to bear witness
to the small magics and ordinary enchantments,
the commonplace miracles
and the unexplained mysteries
of one patch of ground.
It is good to honor what we find,
to pause to recognize it,
to listen to what it has left
to tell.

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