My Empty Nest
A cuckoo sings in the night through an open window, full-throated notes
distend her bellows
ricochet into the mildness of May.
I think wryly of my emptying nest, then in cuckoo land pace myself
for obsequies where I walk uphill,
push though briars, looking back for my breast-craving babies.
I toss and turn, find myself young, nubile, before they came, drowned in the Exeter
Book’s cuckoo call in the bitter exiles
of The Wanderer, The Seafarer, The Wife’s Lament,
Something’s upstaged in me, the crook of my arms undone, the sound of the dun
bird’s call pushing me in rage
out of my own earth cave.
The cuckoo says, It is yours no more.
No more for you the comfort of tried and true,
If I didn’t push you, you’d miss
the new life which is searching for you.
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