Tar and Feathers by Jordan DeGaetano
The bird in her cage does not know
what it is like
to fly along the wind currents
like a mighty force of nature.
The bird has lost her voice after years of
singing to the sun in the morning
and crying to him at night,
for he was her only company,
and his departure left her fearful of his counterpart.
The Moon bores down upon her feathers
as if he is not so far away.
The Sun blinds her from herself;
The Moon conceals her.
The cage offers no protection.
For such a small bird, the prison is tantalizingly large.
Indeed, the bird can no longer sing,
but her vision has never been
She and The Sun watch
the hawks circle the sky,
the sparrows sing their songs,
the crows patrol for diamonds.
She does not even know what kind of bird she is.
She always pays close attention to the sparrows;
She believes they are her kin.
But she cannot see her brilliant yellow plumage.
The bird opens her beak
to her brothers and sisters
but is met with aggressive silence.
The silence gives her eternity
until she is overcome with grief.
The birds who fly by freely
drown her dazzling yellows
with their symphonies of provocations,
teasing the young bird who
cannot escape her prison.
The bird has lost all tolerance for her plight,
and she gives herself to the sun
one last time
before exhausting her resistance.
Only then can she sing again.
Only then can she see the effulgence
of her feathers
for the first time.
Only then can she lift her wings
beyond the limits of her cage
and create a new horizon.