Lessons From My Bird - Poem by Fariha Hossain
The first time I realized my pet bird did not have arms,
my own arms seemed to tingle with apology.
After all, how convenient could soaring home be
if you could not wrap your weary arms
around the walking, breathing definitions
of the word 'home'?
And what exactly was 'home' anyway when you have not
felt the chipped, pristine edges of the white-gold china
your mother delicately utilizes whenever
her heart sings arias in place of hymns?
When you have not drawn the frayed and familiar corners
of your blankets tinged with the luxury of childhood up to your chest?
All this struck me like an eruption more explosive than Pompeii.
Your docile gait on my bedroom floor like a rookie skater
on dangerously thin ice left genial imprints on my heart.
And in the next instant, much like a head on collision,
I registered that you had never grasped clammy, saccharine hands
with the belle who emitted a chirp harsh like the gelid beginnings of December,
but she warmed you up better than your feathers ever could.
And when you bicker, with acid in your voice, you have no fingers to wipe away the tears forming pools at the corners of her eyes.
No arms for an embrace that would compensate for the venom leaking through your teeth.
And when she vacates the space you convinced yourself you needed,
you will not have mittens to halt the shivering that
You can not exhale your shallow breaths on your numb digits in vain and press them to your cheeks in hopes of thermal relief.
you have never grasped the threadbare pages of the novels
that caused your father peals of contagious laughter.
Not once have you clutched the downy feathers of another
while you sway to the ballads
that manifested your heart's existence.
No, you have not squeezed my own hand
when you have discovered me
wailing on my bedroom floor.
But you consoled me nonetheless.
Terminated my tears with
to leave my side,
with your features brimming with profound comprehension.
You have taught me
the grace of comfort and affection without
the opulence of touch.
I will try to remember that the next time
he reaches for my hand
when he does not know
of another way to exhibit
Poet's Notes about The Poem
who taught me
the art of simplicity.
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