Mother yanked her out. I filled my watering can with milk.
In the hollow, we could barely see my bedroom’s yellow
eye. I patted dirt over her bloody roots and stood her up
again. When I stroked her cheek, she turned toward me and
opened her mouth. And when she sang, she sang about a
sparrow and a leaf. And when she yawned, I saw baby
teeth. Would she grow? Would she live? She needed a
collar of feathers, a pillow of violets. A birchbark suit. A
firefly lantern outside a small house made of stones polished
in the creek. Mother’s shadow opened my window and
called. We didn’t have long. The tree frogs’ silver chorus
rose in waves as I ran back to my house. I could still hear
the girl’s faint sparrow song. Maybe she was calling me.
About Kathleen McGookey
Kathleen McGookey’s prose poems and translations have appeared in many journals and anthologies including The Antioch Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Ploughshares, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, West Branch, and Willow Springs. She is the author of Whatever Shines (White Pine Press), October Again (Burnside Review Press), and Mended (Kattywompus Press), and the translator of We’ll See (Parlor Press), a book of prose poems by contemporary French poet Georges Godeau. Her book Stay is forthcoming from Press 53 in fall 2015; her book At the Zoo is forthcoming from White Pine Press in spring 2017. She has received grants from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation and the Arts Fund of Kalamazoo County, and in 2014, she received a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, which supports artists who are parents.