SLCC's Premiere Art & Literary Magazine

Little Bird

Madeline Cole

she held the little bird in her hands,

cupped together like a child scooping up water in the bath.

trembling hands with snowcapped fingers,

iced white by the trembling heart that didn't dare pump its blood toward the bird.

she stared with awe and terror

amazed and grateful to be so close to something so pure

yet horrified, so horrified,

she'd forgotten how the little bird got there.

she was afraid she had captured it.


she dreamt the little bird would soar over the hills of her,

dying leaves and bursting capillaries,

leaving the mountains flushed red overnight,

like the red that greets a lover from the mirror in the morning.

she watched the little bird ruffle its wings as the wind grew too cold to sustain life,

the dens of the hibernating animals the only habitable spaces.

flocks of crows drug the bitter northern air through the trees

sucking the life from the veins of the leaves,

leaving a splotchy trail of autumn colored devastation.

she felt the snowcapped mountains creep closer,

a shiver of familiarity down her spine.

but these mountains are too cold for little birds,

even in the hands of a young child.


the little bird flew south to keep himself alive.

she'd never been fond of the south,

bright rays of sunlight to illuminate imperfections,

and thick, wet air that could drown a girl whose thoughts don't know how to swim.

she'd always felt the north was all she deserved,

never lived anywhere else,

never cared to fly away for self-preservation,

always burrowing deep in the snow,

finding comfort in attempting to live off the small fire buried deep within her frostbitten corpse,

oblivious to the return of warmer winds.

she'd watch the flocks of little birds soaring through the sky,

wishing to be with them,

but knowing she'd rather stay burrowed in the snowcapped mountains of the north,

where her trembling heart could never cause her trembling hands to harm the little bird.