I knew. I knew. My mother gave me
her bluebird of happiness. Carrying the glass
inside my skin to school, I was young.
Show us what you have, the world said.
I was polishing somebody’s rapture.
It wasn’t mine. Not my paradise
or my mother’s love, but oh god
how it shone. I could never tell
which bird was singing. I went home
like a canticle to its branch. I flew
through gray leaves away from
childhood. I gave my mother answers I knew,
didn’t ask whether there was another color –
was blue right after all? Was happiness
a song to be shattered?
I couldn’t explain the frailty, how
the figurine had cracked
when I looked through its life.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. Her fourth collection of poetry, Lighting the Shadow, will be published by Four Way Books in 2015. Griffiths teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.