in the life of us.
she wants credit
for the title.
I am easy.
Tommy has always been
or so he thinks.
we are all too
for real life.
Several days ago my husband discovered a nest containing newly hatched baby robins in our rhododendron bush. I took a photo with my phone. I keep looking at the picture, amazed that such tiny creatures are able to survive at all. How is that even possible? I mean, look at them. They have scant feathers and see-through skin. Their spines are a yellow dotted line down their backs. They cannot hold their heads upright.
Something in the fragility of these babies made me think of a night long ago. My sister was visiting from Virgina, about to move to California. My brother was still alive. I convinced them to go with me to see the movie, Cinema Paradiso — a magical film about childhood and how it shapes who we become. Afterwards, we went to a bar where we drank wine and wrote poetry on paper napkins. Then we sat in a park, talking into the night until one of us was sober enough to drive home. I kept all of my napkin poems from that night twenty-four years ago. Dated and numbered, yellowing and stained; seven of them in all. I don’t know if my sister still has hers. I wish I had my brother’s.
I don’t remember what started it, the writing poetry on napkins. Most likely the wine and the movie, the looking backwards to the past. Wondering how any of us survive the chaos that comes with growing up? We were so fragile then, our dreams as transparent as glass. Our poetry so self-confessional.
But survive, we do, for a time. Some of us longer than others.
The baby robins are thriving. Which is a miracle to me. In five days they have doubled in size. Their feathers are coming in and there are the shadowy buds of wings that will eventually lift them from their nest.
I hope to bear witness when they do.