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  • Robin
  • Brian Komei Dempster (bio)

Thump    against glass,        a brown featherfalling.    On its back,    wing flapping.In his wheelchair        my son leaned    for its song.

He's not normal.    The jolt       of diagnosis.        My hands        squeezing hardat the stop sign, trying        to turn, Grace quietbeside me.       Through the windshield        misted    with rain, the street,        leaves of elmsblurred.

    I punched holes        through the cardboard lid [End Page 213] so the bird could breathe       and rest        in dappled shade, peck at seeds        undisturbed, sip the saucerof water. At night        I shifted    the lid        slightly open, could see itinside, still breathing,          sensing the sky,        its bent wing          spreading out again.

He may never tie        his shoes, make his own meals,Grace tells me. He's good at opening things,            I say. Maybe he'll       be a doorman. We always smileat this. Our eleven-year-old boy coos        in his tented bed,        with us foreverin our nest of blue wood.

A flame    in my hands,   its red bellytrembled. A chirr        from its throat, wing   fluttering.Brendan poised [End Page 214]    in his chair, legs straining, the robin    lifted away.

From his seated nest        he points    at the steel walker. I pull him         up, help him    stand, secure him in, black straps  striping          his back. Left arm    unfolding, right arm         gliding, he circlesthe table, squawk filling        the house. Light falling through    the window,      I shadow him          and he flies. [End Page 215]

Brian Komei Dempster

Brian Komei Dempster's debut book, Topaz, received the 15 Bytes Book Award in Poetry in 2014. His second poetry collection, Seize, is forthcoming from Four Way Books this fall.



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