The prayer is offered,

and waked, the robins march thru

the chambers of open morning.

O, they are small and they hurt,

they bend and break to broken birds.


The morning gone as we talked

over the problem of bones—

shall we hang them for the children?

string them across the lights?

make secrets of them in vials?

There is no place for brittle things.


At once the yardplay is embarrassing and public

and the children’s teeth glint louder than keys.

She comes to you empty-fisted and unsatisfied

and pulls your hair and your ears—

O daddy i’d give anything for a small sparrow

to hold against my clothes—

and somewhere through an armor of wings

you point to the stones, which must be enough—

and the prayer is closed.


Victoria Haynes is a writer of poetry, fiction, and accordion music.

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