My task this dream to sweep the corridor,
but then the crippled bird who held my love
as if she were a child and who I lost
last spring is resurrected, legs still useless
in her box. She shudders to me, tugs my hair:
her kiss: she needs a nest to mute the pain
that eats her so I’m off
on mission for a towel, something
clean to coil beneath her as before, something
softer than she’s used to. Same test
as it’s always been:
how well will you love a broken pigeon fallen
on a dirty side-street in the spring?
Task becomes another one: find a place
that’s safe for Freddie Gray. Shelter
where he’ll sleep. Everything behind him burns.
We’ll meet inside a church. Imagine
I’m the volunteer to love him, sit beside him
in the pew. He smiles: he’s dazzling now,
no sliding side to side, no belly full of lead, no scream,
no shoes that scrape the asphalt clean. No ocean
of indifference, no long ride to the precinct
with unscheduled stops. It’s all behind him.
Family arrives and lovers twine.
This is a reunion.
We have our benches, hymns to sing
in Sunday whites. Come tender: bring his box
of things and I’ll make the arrangements. Time
has disarrayed itself again, funeral reversed.
Come now: he can walk and breathe.
When he sees you he will know it’s over.
Cakes and crown and handshakes all around.
Night allows such things: apparitions,
peace, the manacles unforged. Theme of tending-to,
society of giving what is needed. Creation
where the walls are painted lemon, blue.
Retrieve the necessary love, the implements
of mercy. Dive right in.