In the long afternoon, dull with expected sunlight,
is it possible that a bird nearby would not be changed,
at its scorched wingtip or in its jagged gaze,
by what it witnessed? Would it have seen the angel,
or just the staggered girl holding her own hands?
Would she have been so still that he rested
for a moment on her arm (like a winter branch, but soft)?
Or would he have jittered, flitted at the immense bodiless  
made present (like a sunset on the doorstep,
a tsunami in the barn)? And if his breast feathers
were warmed, shaken harder by his miniscule heart;
if his eyes contained, then, a moment’s intense knowledge
at what was near, or even a crazed bird-madness,
what deep hope for me as I kneel before your Presence.

Sally Read

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