Shelter Her                                                                       by Kayla McCollough

Have you heard death
in the divine strike of bird
and glass? The clash
of time and vision.  

If a robin—sign of spring
and good luck—should come to you,
listen. Its song will disturb
the sound of rain pounding
dead leaves.

Now you are the curious person
risen from the couch, called
by nature’s strike. You find
a robin looking up
at you through the mystic glass,
awestruck, beak agape,

while on the porch another robin
lies on her back on the wet
cement. It was she who dove
head-first into the drizzling
forever world. 

You arrive witness to her
legs jerking in air, like a sad,
asynchronous swimmer, in her final
dance of death pain. Her stunned
sister meets your eyes and flies away.

You will retrieve gloves from
the closet, go into the cool rain
and scoop her up, hands cupped
as if to hold holy water.
You will put her in a proper place,
under the pine tree, shelter her
still body with leaf litter. 

Kayla McCollough graduated from PSU in May 2020 with an MA in English. She often writes introspective poems that explore emotions and the daily struggles with anxiety. Sometimes these poems turn into songs. In her spare time, Kayla cares for plants and creates macrame and embroidery projects. When it’s warm, she’s outside soaking up the sun and enjoying birds or other creatures. 

LORI MARTIN is associate professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review and upcoming in The Tampa Review.  Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly.


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