With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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To see the feather on the filthy mat beneath the gas pedal is infinite sadness.
No more opposite a place for a feather to be, no worse way
for it to get there than how it must have come,
on the bottom of a shoe.
I’d like to think it floated through a window like some answered prayer,
but it’s winter and the windows haven’t been open in months.
I keep holding my hands to the heater as if waiting for someone
to throw me a ball I’m supposed to catch.
When I see the steam rise from a cup of tea, I imagine the souls of the leaves
have been released.
No earthly reason to feel lonely for feathers, each bird having so many.
One can go unmissed. And yet I think of my wife’s finches, how naked they looked
when they hatched. They came out of their eggs and for weeks did nothing
but open their mouths to the sky.