Saving the birds was our mission that whole winter.
Saving the birds imprisoned in the snow.
All along the beach most of them were hidden,
nestled in the shade of the black sea.
The birds were black, too.
From the coverts we’d take them and carry them home
in our coat pockets.
The tiniest birds, barely contained
in even our child-sized hands.
Later, we’d lay them beside the warm stove.
But the birds never lasted long.
In two or three hours they died.
We didn’t see why,
didn’t understand their bad luck.
After all, we’d given them
breadcrumbs moistened in milk,
held to their mouths, to eat,
and furnished a nest for each
with our most colorful winter scarves.
But it was useless, they kept on dying.
Furious, our parents told us
not to bring home any more birds,
they were dying of too much heat.
And that nature is wise,
spring would come with its own birds.
We sat and considered their statements,
it could be that they will be right.
Still and all, the very next day
we would flock off back to the beach
to save the birds,
though we knew
it was fruitless as snow in the sea.
And our birds kept dying, these birds taking life.