• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 07
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Only later, rummaging through the dark attic, would I
rediscover the creased print
grandma pinned above her kitchen bed. Saint Francis,
head bent, graceful fingers parting the air,
is blessing the birds. But for me, at five,
this was all about the ring of hair around his head

and the nimbus. I'd wish for it first thing in the morning,
a head-in-the-moon, while I could hear the skillet
fussing with butter for the round pieces of bread
waxing against the whisked milk and egg, her voice,
a vanilla cloud descending from above
the wood-burning stove –

                            for the element of the air,
which God had appointed for you,
and for the feathering he clothed you in,
and the high trees whereon to make your nests,
my little sisters, the birds –

and I would cherish my pyjamas
like fuzz sent from heaven,
furnish my head with birds
– big, small, tall,
hear in the silence
I had offered to the holy sleep
the stretching of their wings
with the scroop of a brown dress
that brings me pieces of warm bread.