Fledglings

The woman with the dead eyes
climbs an aluminum ladder
takes fledglings from their nest
puts them in a bag
she made from worn cowboy neckerchiefs
and climbs back down

On the fourth rung
she missteps
and almost falls
but grabs the ladder rail hard
and saves herself
but the bag falls from her grasp

Once on the ground
she picks it up
goes into her bedroom
opens it
takes out the fledglings

lays them across a cedar picket
she’s put on her bed
The fledglings are bare and ugly
nothing like the birds they
would have become

The woman with the dead eyes
goes to the antique mirror
above her dresser
She’s dyed her hair white
She’s caked on makeup to
soften her features
but she can’t do anything about her eyes
They betray her

Now she’s Norma Desmond
with a row of
dying birds on her bed

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