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Returning the Wind
and not much to take down a dirt road
Saaremaa, Estonia, December 1935
but for the flecked snowy owl
flapping through the silver birch
split rail fence and windmill sails
from the mouth of the wild boar
off round stones grouted in a glittery ice
A cold wind blows across the marshes toward the sea
over my mother’s bundled head
into her woolen coat
into her bones
into my own
My birthright then
this longing to return the wind
to its origin
haunted by the chronic memory
of a snow-covered beach
just before sunrise
and the sight of a single white feather there
Cardinals are not like people;
they have feathers and they mate for life.
One lies now, stiff—like a mitten dropped
and frozen at the edge of the salt-stained road.
His mate sits high in the evergreen tree
singing a song that sounds no different to me.
Three days later I come home from work
and he has disappeared leaving nothing
but dozens of red feathers
scattered all down the street
like rose petals
in the February snow.
Susan Barry-Schulz is a physical therapist in Westchester County, NY. Her writing has been published in the Journal News and in the recent Barrelhouse POPLove! series. Her mother immigrated to the United States from Estonia in 1935. Susan is a member of the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center and the Mahopac Poetry Group. She grew up in a house filled with books.
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