The Bluebird

It was a freezing-cold day,
So I put on my warm coat and hat
To make my way out to the mailbox.
The mail hadn’t come because the roads
Were still iced over from last night’s storm.

As I returned I noticed a bluebird
Lying dead on the ground at my feet,
Frozen from the harsh winter storm.
I gently picked it up and paused for a moment,
Imagining the agony it must have felt —
Its fading final thoughts — moments
Before it died. The relentless winter
Wind cut through my coat like a butcher’s knife.

I felt guilty
As I reluctantly discarded the bluebird
In the plastic trash container by my door;
Not giving it a proper burial.

Once inside, I wondered if I had denied
A hungry fox its only meal for the evening
As the bluebird’s colorful plumed remains
Lay isolated from nature; alone in the trash.
I wondered what else must have died
During the frigid storm. As I took off my coat
And hat, I heard the familiar sound
Of my mailbox closing.

It was too cold to go back out for the mail.

— Dean Hall