Michael Mark

Irwin Conducts The Birds
by Michael Mark

The woman beside him sighs,
she must go to support group.

Her hands climb up
his waving arm and tug,

like a kite string,
and guide his left hand

to her cheek.

The birds continue singing around
his right arm—dipping

and rising above his head.
They pause at the swipe

of his pointed finger, then go
sotto voce

as he turns his palm

Music is last to go, she sighs,
just after—she stops—manners.

She turns to me now. For forty
five years he opened every door.

She stands, gives a partial smile,
then raising her pitch

tells him to sleep well, kisses
his cheek, lets go

of his left hand. It drifts up
to the birds, as she waits

for the attendant, who watches
through the window,

to push the button,
open the door

and let her out.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

Michael MarkMichael Mark is a hospice volunteer and author of two books of stories, Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has recently appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cutthroat Journal, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Prelude Magazine, Rattle, Spillway, The Sun, and other nice places. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net. michaeljmark.com

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