My parents care what happens
to the killdeer whose nest of eggs
rests in their lawn. They worry
about the family in the storms that come.
The four inches that falls in one night,
flooding the roads, the creeks, their yard.
My dad wants to harness the silver-
shingled cover of clouds, the warmth
in their electric touch, the very water.
To keep the mother alive whose cries overflow
the banks of her throat. To defend her unborn
chicks growing cold from exposure.
Beaks poke through,
rip in two the mottled fabric of the eggs.
Emerge. Tender and tentative,
like buds that one morning decide, finally,
to rise from their bed, get dressed.
And then: the fluffing of feathers, the flurry
of squeals. Like kids at a birthday bash, cheering
as the piņata breaks open, spills
sweets. Life is like that.
It tends to celebrate itself.
And my parents run outside to witness
the chicks’ first steps, finding the urge irresistible
to crash the party.
From Scandal of Particularity, a manuscript awaiting publication.
This poem first appeared in The Basilica Review as “Of Grief and Gift.”
Used here with the author’s permission.