Falling Gracefully

by Christine Adams Beckett

My sudden stop

At the intersection

Interrupted the slipstreaming

Of a male goldfinch celebrating

Spring with a new coat

Of downy yellow feathers.

His bulbous breast,

Tripped up by my sudden

Vehicular stop,

Teetered and dipped

Through my open sunroof

Which was welcoming the first of the season’s

Warm comfort.


Startled by his clumsy appearance

I gasped.

Regretful that my

Man-made, motorized form of transport,

Made from stolen elements of our

Natural mother

Falsely presented him

An irresistible opportunity.

With a stretch of whisper light wings

A swoop of ecstasy

And a grasp at the airy ring

He travelled with effortless


With momentary


The struggle is over!


I left him

Jilted and tilted,

Stumbling on an invisible obstacle of air.

A momentary delusion happily distracted him

From the darker half of

Natural reality.

A lidless black bead

Of a terrified aviary eye

Beheld my own blue one,

Shaded by a sun visor

To keep the line of sight

Completely clear and

Unblinded by the brilliance, warmth and

Life-sustaining energy provided by the center of

Our Solar System.

Too much perfection

Burns, freckles,

Induces sickening, head-shattering migraines.

The visor, perched over

My white skin showing signs of damage,

Was jarred by the beat of his wing

Shifting the line of sunlight

Directly into my sensitive blue iris,

Shrinking my defensive pupil and

Obstructing my view of his

Interrupted, staggering flight

Towards the shelter of a

Near-by magnolia tree.


I imagined him there,

His tiny heart pumping quickly:

A shocked and frantic whir,

A contemplative state of alertness

That would become an

Intoxicating memory of

How he had it all,

If only for a moment.