In my mother’s garden
amid the blue hydrangeas,
begonias and hibiscus blooms,
a red-headed finch sits atop the fence,
nervously eyeing the feeder.
Prodding hungry stomach,
tiny internal debate—
last doubts extinguished,
he flutters from fence to feeder,
guzzles the seed provided with love,
that his quiet meal
may be jarringly interrupted,
that the same hand that pours the seed
and fills the bath
is the same that flings open the doors
and shatters the moments of silence, safety, sustenance.
For sometimes my mother stands
entranced at the window,
tuned to the finch’s fragile courage.
At other times
her world is devoid of finches.
She tramps loud and heavy
on the hearts of all.
Maureen Fielding is an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State Brandywine. Her work has appeared in Westview, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Marathon Literary Review, WLA, and other journals. She has taught English in South Korea and is currently working on a chapbook based on research conducted in South Korea about Japanese Militarized Sexual Slavery. She has also written a novel inspired by her experiences as a Russian intercept operator in West Berlin during the Cold War.