It was such a little thing,
with its soft spotted hide
and pointed feet.
It lies there now, nearly invisible
in the brown leaves,
its little chest opened,
ribs cracked,
its child-sized heart cut away.


Her hunger was terrible:
few seeds, and drought
had driven the earthworms deep.

Only one nestling still lived.
The others–poor scraps
of down and bone–too pitiful
even for the crows.

But then, along the forest floor,
winding through the tall black trees,
a trailing of coarse brown crumbs.


Today is cold, but there is no wind.
I found a robin redbreast, frozen, by the water.
It made me sadder than usual.

They caught Willow, in the forest.
She had gone early, to pick new blossoms.
People get careless;  people forget so soon.

I dreamed I swept the churchyard,
brushed the pebbles into piles.
There were no candles anymore.

The children were playing at hunting
in the spring meadow this morning–
stalking one another,

smelling, tasting the windy air.
It felt good to laugh again–
the first time since Grandmother–
since she’s been gone.


It came to nothing–
Mother’s ambition,
my sacrifice.

I always knew
that she was the one–
everything they look for–
that hair, those eyes,
the tiny foot.

Mine healed badly.
I shall always hobble.

No one ever told me
what was required
for balance,
what was required
for love.


Can you guess the tales?

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