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'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.