Updated: Dec 5, 2022
I look at you, measuring whether I’m fearful
your dark eye darting your unease, wildness
here in this basement room
where you have flown,
alighting on books in silent rows
as you wait panicked for me to give you
Your wiry feet clasp the shelf’s edge as you
watch me, half scared, half
trusting. Your dark plumage accented
by white mottling, a reflection
or perhaps a flag of peace.
Are you from these parts
or of depths unknown, here
in the bowels of my home
to tell me that there are closed doors and hard panes
but there are always ways to open them.
No harbinger of death are you, no sign
of sudden mishap. Instead you signal
mere movement, up, down, away—
not of fancy, but of necessity. Let me do it
for you, I whisper, gently pulling the wire mesh,
flail my hands through the open space,
show you a path of flight, coo
coax you out. You turn, your neck moving
in truncated shifts, look at me one last time
and push off the row of Brontë classics—in an
instant, reach wingspan, gone
through the open window.
Carolyne Van Der Meer is Montreal-based journalist, public relations professional and university lecturer who has published articles, essays, short stories and poems internationally. Her fourth book, a full-length poetry collection, Sensorial, was published by Inanna in 2022.