Your Honor, before you stands accused
one who freely admits she killed the bird,
tears trailing that first day of kindergarten
mother pushing her towards the Apron
who hugged her, told her not to cry,
promised Mommy would be back soon.
But, you see, Your Honor, it was not Mother
this child desired for she never possessed her.
It was the deceased here. See Exhibit A –
its stiff blue and white wings, soft feathers
once stroked, and yellow beak that ate
seed from her palm. She wished only to kiss
his downy head before parting but outside,
car horn honking, angry mother shouting.
Your Honor, in a panic, our child grabbed
for Pretty Boy’s cage and reached inside,
fingers like sharp prongs clawing, grasping.
Shrieking erupted, tinkling bells slapped
against the bars of the cage, wings like
unhinged propellers hurtled against preening
mirror, crashed to newsprint below, cuttlebone
dislodged and sandpaper on perch displaced.
See Exhibit B. And when she finally seized him,
she squeezed him with all her might and cried,
Pretty Boy, oh, Pretty Boy, I’m leaving,
Pretty Boy. I love you, Pretty Boy.
and his tiny head flopped onto her thumb,
his black eyes froze and car horn honked,
Mother shouted, and the child laid down Pretty Boy
as she realized in horror what she had done.
I beseech Your Honor, have mercy
on the child, guilty though she is.
Commute the sentence she gives
herself. Teach her to let go.
Kristen Skedgell is a playwright, poet and author of Losing the Way: A Memoir of Spiritual Longing, Manipulation, Abuse and Escape. A retired social worker, she lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, hound dog and Monkee the cat. She finds Mother’s Day very complicated.