Considering Need

Two domesticated parakeets will find each other

in the wild forest, the bell becomes unnecessary,

the mirror. Considering need, that binding honey, one

feels the cage bottom deep within her. Further,


so she might crack a seed open in her beak, for him,

the husk falling to the forest floor; so an unpredictable

sway in the branch, something leaps: the old


She remembers it dark like an eye. Blood-tinged

feathers can be covered by one newspaper sheet:

a sale, she saw, on mattresses. I know

bearing witness doesn’t stop the days

from going on. A lifetime ago, when


I held birds on our deck to free them from

an unsafe house, and my hands were small,

I knew the feel of wings.

Shevaun Brannigan is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, as well as The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House at The University of Maryland. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Best New Poets 2012, Rhino, Court Green, and Crab Orchard Review. She is the first place recipient of the 2015 Jan-ai Scholarship through the Winter Poetry and Prose Getaway, and a 2015 recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant.