The Collective Life of the Birds


Invisible to us, they perch
In the bare branches of winter
Or swoop down in search of food.

I could never be that free—
My past is always part of me.

Living for others, what a relief
It must be from the tyranny
Of the singular point of view.

When I seek to understand
Someone from another land,
My own life is less vain.

Little things we say and do
Can echo for eternities...

Like the birds, we flock together
And our songs are for each other,
Songs of our belonging.


©2016 Michael Fraley




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