Simon Gennard

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Sad poem about a bird

I forgot to tell you J died. You were so surprised.
It meant something, we couldn’t say what,
because it always does.
(I did not trust you with my feelings)
(I wasn't convinced of them myself)

Maybe my feelings are the baby bird who flew
into J's window the first morning I met him.
He told me the house was in mourning.
I wondered whether I should have taken
my shoes off, lay on the carpet,
wept if I could.

Maybe the bird wasn't a baby
I didn't ask.

A house in mourning looks so much like a house.
Maybe it's always supposed to take you by surprise.
It does me every time. Takes
the wind right out of me. Takes
a while, a whole while, to
know what to say. To hold
it as it leaves the body. To tell
you I've been sadder about smaller things.

I did not have not put J's body into that of a tiny bird. Death is not so
much a window on a sunny morning — it is never rigid when placed
against something else and it is difficult to see through.

I didn't tell you about the dead baby bird. If I tell you about them both I
promise I will say J's name first so as not to imply I am
sadder about birds than people.

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