Tag Archives: birds



The last place my Mom and Dad lived in before he died was out in the country, near Lake Fork, Texas. There was a big plate-glass window in front of which Dad had hung bird feeders. Among the many birds who winged in were cardinals, crimson feathers startling, vivid, unforgettable. Whenever I see cardinals, real or otherwise, I think of Dad, I think of that place, a home place for him, a vision he’d worked toward all his life. And I think of my mother, too, acquiescing to him, sharing his dream. What was hers?

In Pier One yesterday, caught like a magpie by all the Christmas glitter and glow, I saw LED candles with tiny red cardinals on them. I had to stop and touch the glass. My throat got tight as I thought of my father, but also of my mother, 13 years down with Alzheimer’s, bedridden, incontinent, unable to turn over or ask for what she wants, able only to croak sounds and smile her occasional but still lovely smile. I didn’t buy the candle. I bought five small, red clip-on cardinals, glitter on their tails and shaken like salt in among their color. Foolish, I thought as I checked out. She won’t see them.

But today I go to place them in her room, among the bits of holiday tinsel I put up even though she doesn’t know. My heart hurts, my throat is tight. I think I summoning Dad to bring her on home.



haiku practice

Sometimes I play at loose haiku, the way others do sudoku. I find the necessity for precision fun even though I usually fail at it. Here are some flailings….

on finding a bird’s feathers on the sidewalk:

dsc_06101at my feet feathers

spill across broken sidewalk

is it a crime if no one sees it


I’d dust for prints

but a cat’s small smile tells all


feathers spill across sidewalk

dove grey black tipped

a meow hangs in the air

Houston’s mild winters bring so many birds.

At the sight of hundreds on the electric lines:


sullen overcast skies

are broken by a hundred dark wings beating

against a grey wool twilight


they dip and dive against

grey wool skies and settle on the

lines….winter’s begun