In memory of smallbody blindbird

It will be a long time before the House at Delmas 24 forgets your crow-child screech

and the imprint of your slender bones fades from the recollection of the cane chair in the front room

from when you waited every day to be called out of the world where your manman was braiding your hair on the sunbaked stoop to the one where hands you couldn’t see grasped yours and promised to come visit again soon, but rarely did.

And now the House that guarded you, smallbody blindbird, for sixty years echoes with prayers for your sightless children

Sundown walls radiate the purple heat from that afternoon when voices whispered and you knew, though they never told you, that your manman was gone and your darkness was complete

But you lived in color always, mostly in the idea of pink.

So the day we tucked you, tiny curled November leaf, into your own nest and closed your milky eyes

No one would have dreamed of wrapping you in anything other than the rosy dress you wore every day in your mind

Or of begrudging the House that loved you its right to mourn undisturbed when we carried you out

Taking care not to trail feathers from the cane chair to the car, bickering over who would preach and who would sing

But behind your mask of placid peat you ran glorious unburdened legs kicking treetops to the stoop of the place where your manman stood in the doorway

And you saw her face for the first time and she lifted your hollow bones and held you in sunlight until you could forget all the things you’d had to remember to keep from living in the dark.

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