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Floating Cages

Jerome Daly

You came to me again last night—

I was toweling your hair after a bath.

Eyes closed, no words or whimper,

A heavy weight in a white room.

And yet, the last time I saw you alive,

Radiation had reduced you to empty marrow.

The fallen bird you found

In the backyard, so long ago,

And the gentleness in your eyes and hands

As you placed it in a cage for protection,

The dream changed all that to a single feather,

Shades of white and grey and red.

How strange to see blood on the feather.

Birds don’t bleed they fly, I wanted to say.

The dream—now a lone lamppost

shining on rain-drenched asphalt.

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