- Yellow Feather
That old house, still as a cradle when the child is grown, stands open-doored in the sun:
not a curtain stirs not a piece of thatch rustles against the rafters.
Five brown bodies, swaying as sugar cane sways in the winds, five chanting, knees in the dust.
A black beetle crawls up the missionary downspout, ratchet legs sliding where the gutter turns down.
Louder than scratching, a clapping resounds: a boy passes through the doorway, a wicker birdcage in his hands.
Yellow feathers—sing a cage of yellow feathers, sing the yellow feathers in the dust!
Flames rise straight from the blackened wicker mesh; ashes float, float and fall, as the fire burns down.
Five brown bodies, bending as palm trees bent by a storm, five singing, throats full of rain. [End Page 110]
Missionaries built the house, brought the bird, the wicker cage; one black beetle crawled at their door.
Feathers, black and gray, float and fall above the flame; one yellow feather left in the dust.
Jane McClellan has published in The Centennial Review, Sonoma Mandala Literary Review, Phase and Cycle, Pennsylvania English, The Devil’s Millhopper, Southern Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, and Callapooya Collage.