A Carolina wren nested out the window
at the house where children grew,
summer after summer—how long do wrens live?—
I watched her come and go,
the yellow gape of nestlings’ mouths.
Precarious between her claws, she peered in
and we told each other what we knew.
The spring I waited until she did not come,
I found I had finished with my need to guard
the buried bones: Queenie’s broken pony bones,
gerbil bones, finch bones tinier than sparrow,
and in deep-dug holes mounded smooth,
(The time my husband set his book across his chest,
I keep seeing the dirt falling on that nice old horse.
Said old with such a long O)
And up the hill behind the house,
the good dog bones of Lady.
Wendell Hawken (she/her) earned her MFA in Poetry at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers decades after her BA. Publications include three chapbooks and five full collections. She is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Millwood, VA, a quirky unincorporated Clarke County village. With two dogs, Hawken lives on a grass farm in the northern Shenandoah Valley where the first meaning of AI is Artificial Insemination.