Copyright © 2001 Bob Dornberg

"A Cage Went in Search of a Bird"

This happened, of course, in May. A clean
brass cage, a little dented, with burnished
rose buds opening in the mid-vernal sun.

In the light air it whistles, clutching
a shaker of salt. Hanging far above
any practice of captivity, the cage is confident,

a decoration. New maple twigs pluck at its bars.
It breathes out years of dust from the attic
and inhales the droplets of rain. It spends

its inheritance on a cuttlebone. It studies
the allure of a scarecrow. Each morning the cage fills
with fog and searches deep into the afternoon clouds.

How the cage learned ways to change its tune!
Perched by a gate among deep colored berries,
it grows more restless by evening.

Explains how its latch won't work to a wren
who's just smashed on a picture window,
performs a madrigal for a whole flock of robins

taking flight from the edge of a field. The cage
is still empty, and the story of its search
can't end the endless numbers of birds.

Mike Perrow
Copyright © 2001

Mike Perrow's poems have appeared in Volt, Willow Springs, The Hollins Critic, Web Del Sol, and elsewhere.

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