by Anne Rieman

That morning, I buried a baby bird.
She was small and brown as any bird
who lived a few days in a box and died.

When I was nine, I was very scared
I believed in God. I looked up at the sky
and thought, There is something up there.

My mother sat on my bed the way
she always did when an orphan animal
didn’t make it all the way through the night.

I felt the pressure of her body, the weight
of her hand on my back. I didn’t need to hear
the words to know what she had to say.

I was plain old tired of watching little helpless
things go cold without a sound. I knew, and knew
I shouldn’t. My father did not believe, taught us

to not believe, believers were fools, but I knew.
That bird was somewhere, living the life it was
supposed to have. I knew it was true, all true.

Anne Rieman is a writer living in Los Angeles. She grew up in the vast area of the Anza-Borrego Desert somewhat near the Salton Sea and Borrego Springs, but not really near anywhere. She recently graduated from the Bennington Writing Seminars with an MFA in poetry and creative non-fiction.