Whenever it was that I first saw them
(I know it was when my dad lifted me to see)
I saw chickens hatching
from their eggs. The chicks were wet,
I remember that they were wet,
and I remember that the coop was dark,
but that dad had a flashlight.
Years later, I saw a horse dying in a pasture.
I was riding a bike that day to a neighbor’s house
(which would mean I was about nine)
but when I walked (frightened, yes) toward the horse
lying there (dying there, I thought)
a little horse stood up,
and I was too surprised to run.
So I watched the mother,
who wasn’t dying, only waiting,
stand herself, and
lick herself and her colt clean.
And then today I wanted to see if
the finches, the junkos, and the titmouse
would come near if I stood
beside the feed I’d spread
on the snow-covered ground
near the pecan tree,
long enough, still enough, quietly enough.
I stood, motionless, intentionally breathing
slow and low, minutes and more minutes-
breathe in 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8……
breathe out 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…..
then, in slow movement
as smoothly as possible
to be even closer, when they returned
if they returned..
and they did.
One, a junko, landed about ten feet away then,
a thistle seed at a time, came closer and closer,
then another junko (charcoal and cream) and another.
A titmouse swooped-twice- then landed, then was gone.
Finch- two, four, ten, tiny, delicate, aggressive and golden
and more junkos
(the junkos chirping, the finches crunching).
I am still still and I am breathing quietly
and I am feasting, in memory and vision,
with hatching chicks
and standing horses
and (now) chirping, crunching birds
and it is proper that I am
and I am only there because I am
and I am
It would look to some
as if I am praying..