Migratory birds

Cape Porpoise, Maine, 2007.

The first snow has come.

But why,

I wonder,

do they always speak

of snow as blanketing,

as if comforting, warm?

Underneath its smooth spread surface

I can only imagine a seering cold.

On Saturday the ducks hunted for their lunch

in icy shallows,

pecking algae through a film of ice,

advancing spectre.

I nearly cried.

“Why don’t they migrate?” I asked aloud.

I worry for the fox of our woods

and the woodchuck in our rockery,

huddled against the beating hearts of trees

and ask my husband,

“Will they stay warm tonight?”

He always coos and soothes,

speaking of burrows and biology.

But back home, our friend’s wife is dying

of cancer.

Her kidneys shut down yesterday.

He speaks of going away somewhere

when she’s gone.

Maybe never to return.

And here I am in this wasteland,

my youth seeping into the cold,

core-chilled and longing

to rise up on ever wilder drafts

and

aloft

fly home.

headshot sepia

By age 18, J.M. Roddy had lived in four states and eight houses. A nomadic existence followed: dorms, cars, guest rooms, camp bunks, a Swiss chalet in the Alps, a posh London flat round the corner from Harrods, a cabin in a winter-deserted lobster fishing village, a second story walk-up with one square foot of kitchen counter, and a condo with a tyrranical HOA president and rusting Hitchcock-esque breezeways. These days she’s found home in a shockingly blue farmhouse called Mapleside in a seaside suburb of Seattle with her two children, husband, and ginger cat.

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