This afternoon when my baby woke from her nap—
sweaty mop of blonde curls, crusty drool line staining her cheek
red pillow creases on her face—
she wrapped her whole body,
all two years of her life,
over my shoulder, around my wide hips,
baby body sealed to my breast.

We watched the world through the glass door of our back porch.

I catalogued the backyard, words as presents:
                                                               tree, cloud, grass, flower.

And then a bird, a whisper-frail body fresh from the nest
crashed into the door, its miniature figure a sudden, dull thump.
The bird, soft blue-grey feathers, its beak open, calling
from the concrete of our porch, skeleton legs askew, with a blinking tiny black eye.
Bird, my baby said, pointing a slick finger wet from sucking, smearing it down the glass.
The bird blinked again, beak open, and fought to kick the leg
crushed beneath its own weight.
                     Bird, I answered as I tried to unpeel her limbs,
                           but she held tighter, squeezing her thighs around my waist.


Copyright 2011,  Melissa Scholes Young

Melissa Scholes Young was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain’s beloved hometown,  and she writes now from Washington, D.C. where she teaches at American University.   Her work has appeared in Tampa ReviewNew MadridCold Mountain ReviewWord Riot,  and other literary journals.  She is also a contributor to Fiction Writers Review and has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes. You can read more about her at

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