A bird in the house was one.
When a robin flew in our open door
and almost beat itself to death
under the skillet cupboard,
we caught it in a dishtowel.
As we released it, I saw the dark look
mother and grandmother exchanged.
When a dog howled,
grandmother shook her head and cried.
Keeping vigil, she tried to decipher
the window’s darkness,
a pine tree’s withered top,
burned splinters pointing toward
a person sitting nearby,
Even birth could predict death.
Born in a rain storm-death
by drowning. Born with a rope nearby-
hanged. Born in fair weather-
a proper death, rich in years,
covered with homemade quilts,
surrounded by friends.
My Appalachian grandmother
never studied the Leonid Shower,
but knew falling stars were omens, too.
Flickering lights arced overhead,
landing some place