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The Marsh Birds

I try to sense that weary flood of light
The day the birds are coming through the air.
A certainty now moves along their flight:
There is no smell of water anywhere.

Below, a stretch of houses like a rash
Is driving them to somewhere south of mad.
They’re filled with reeks of diesel, rot and ash,
And emptied of the only plan they had.

Sometimes, here in my kitchen in the city,
Climbing the stairs, or on the street at dawn,
I glimpse them, in an agony of pity.
It passes, as the birds themselves pass on.

It’s human nature not to grasp a thing,
Not one soft creature fallen in our fall.
Imagine Mercy past imagining:
He’ll bring them with Him, if He comes at all.


Copyright 2017 Sarah Ruden