She Finds Herself Counting Again by Hilda Weiss

Every day, morning flows and tumbles
and finds that new window she never saw before.
And she counts the moments. It’s the way
she goes to work. Counting the time it takes.
Every office its own pattern of freeways,
one-way alleys, parking lots. Even at home,
she rinses breakfast from bowls, wipes the counters.
Counts the moments. Calls herself stupid for counting.

Still, in that moment she rises, leaving the grocery list
there on the desk. The bird in the room
is with her. And they are not One.
Not together. No. And not two either.
Not apart. They are both:
nervous. And fierce. Each self is
made of words only they know—
strange at the top of the throat.

And rising, her rising, frightens the bird
more than her in-drawn breath, more
than her thought: A bird has flown in.
Dark splayed feet on the rug.
From room to room it’s traveled.
From table to chair to floor. Crumbs?
None. Only its tiny sound: surprise, not quite song.

It’s aimed for the window, struck it, fallen:
shocked by the glass. Bold now because it is hopeless,
she opens the window. Fog blows in.
It has no count. None. Nor words. Not even sound.
Behind her the bird has flown, is gone,
out through the door it came in.
She opens that home in her chest.


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