Your Old Bird Lives – by Steven Riel

“Here I am, the smallest bird of your old bird lives.”
—Julia Lisella


You’re not sure I’m your fledgling, or what I’m called, but here
I am, Mother, coaxing you towards calories. I
know not to hawk the berry Magic Cup, so I am
keen on keeping it at the front of your tray, with the
spoon sticking up near your right hand, your smallest
scoop my soar. This private room almost cozy, a bird
nest cushioned with cotton, the hub of hushed consults nearby, of
runs for cafeteria grub, of re-explaining what your
daily goal says, why you can’t fly. These old,
wrinkled tissues you fold and unfold, as a stunned bird
might her bruised wings, starting to know she lives.


Steven Riel is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Edgemere and Fellow Odd Fellow. His chapbook Postcard from P-town was published as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review and International Poetry Review. He edits the Franco-American journal Résonance. Recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, Riel was also named the 2005 Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County (PA) Community College.