The Songbird’s Song

by Chris Haven

I worry about the songbird. She disappears, one note at a time.

The songbird sings a complicated song. Devotion and clear glass and
water. Dips and trills and sharps. It delivers unmistakable pain. Each
night, of this I’m certain, the songbird’s song is one note less.

I don’t know how long the song has been. It’s hard to measure
what’s being lost.

Maybe a hunter waits, cuts down one trailing note at a time. I can’t
see the bird, or hunter. I smell gunpowder. Each night a bullet.

If I asked you to hear the songbird’s song, I’m not sure you would
hear it. I’m not sure I would hear you.

I hear the song and open the window. The cold, the stirring leaves. I
listen for the lost notes and worry that in the strain I miss the notes
that have not yet gone. One thing is taken away at a time. This may be
happening everywhere.

On this night, I hear a single note. I close the window against the
silence and wait. Nothing left to do but sing.

*Photo courtesy Jenny Levine.