My carpenter friend meant well

when he showed up at the door

one day with a huge picture window

in the back of his truck, offering

to replace our well worn windows,

withered and splintered from a century

of sun, wind and hail with sagging

frames and drooping lead weights.

“Nothing to it,” he assured us, vowing to

bring the outside inside, unaware that

we loved the charm of those crooked

old windows, sills parched for paint

whose hand-blown panes had bubbles

that magnified the light of the sun and stars.

Now, lying dormant on our deck after

slamming into our picture window

splattered with carrion insects is a tiny wren

who will sing no more. Its vocal repertoire

once rejoiced and now will no longer echo

across Saranac Lake. Its streaked brown-grey

plumage is crumpled, a slender bill at rest

like a sword no longer drawn. Maybe its older

than it looks and misty cataracts clouded vision that

otherwise would have seen glass is not empty space

but hard and cold, no different than banging your head

against a stone wall.

We’ll treat it like a fallen angel, reciting

all our Gnostic prayers before burying it

in the back yard along with our beloved

calico cat and weimaraner. Returning

to earth its soul will sing, delicate bones

will merge into fecund soil sure to grow

the reddest floribunda this side of the Erie Canal.


Milton P. Ehrlich