Maybe the cowbird was omen and mourning
dim ligatures of childhood, stealing
the nests outside your teenage window.
New feathers uncombed, and petite cries gone
more and more astray inside Dad's willows
stroking you through the house in western Massachusetts.
Or maybe it was your brothers wrestling, although
they joined themselves together, head by handful, bruised
boys corralling a future escape.
Just maybe it was the dusk, the thunder, the baby
cowbird, the damp. And you, awash in some gray-cast
glacial reach to dispatch this mother, seizing fistfuls
of hair and cutting, right next to your brothers
who tried to prevent her, pounding her with brushes
snatched from your dresser days before.
Maybe it was your screams, or the moment she licked
her lips and the room took a belly-breath, empathetic
to the cowbird, aerodynamic moments before.
Or was it the piano? Sunlight pounding disinfected
keys, casting into cowbirds the narrowing silhouettes
of mothers, and you, in a dream, treating yourself
to vodka and gin in the playroom's bar, knowing
this moment is like death and won't end, hourly
expanding as the cowbird's mother untangles and
sways, tosses her babies in her selfish swoop down.
Nanette Rayman Rivera, two time Pushcart nominee, is the author of a poetry collection, Project: Butterflies published by Foothills Publishing and a chapbook, alegrias, published by Lopside Press. She is the first winner of the Glass Woman Prize for non-fiction and she was nominated by Chantarelle's Notebook for Best of the Net Anthology. Publications include: Dragonfire, Berkeley Fiction Review, Worcester Review, The Pedestal, The Pebble Lake Review, MiPOesias, Carousel, Barnwood, Lily, ken*again, Arsenic Lobster, The Externalist, A Little Poetry, Her Circle, Sein Und Werden, Wicked Alice, DMQ Review, Carve Magazine, Wheelhouse, Anti Muse, Flutter, Jack, Words and Pictures, 5 Trope, Stirring, Snow Monkey, Small Spiral Notebook, Three Candles, The Centrifugal Eye, The Greensilk Journal—Editor's Pick, Flashquake—Editor's Pick, Red River Review, Aoife's Kiss, The Pittsburgh Quarterly. Upcoming: Tipton Poetry Journal, Grasslimb. She is shopping her memoir around with a story that depicts the "real deal" about New York City homelessness, welfare and public housing, that no one will admit to. She was the Guest Poetry Editor for Moondance—December 2007. And she played a waitress on All My Children four times. She is listed on Turner Classic Movies, imbd, and Yahoo.movies for her acting roles in "Stephan's Silver Bell" and Guns on the Clackamas.
copyright © 2008, Nanette Rayman Rivera/font>