My Son Finds a Dead Bird

I realize in this moment,
he will be defined by

what I teach him
and we have never had

a dead bird discussion
so I watch him and he

looks at me and I try
to not give him a clue

of what I want him to do
and he goes over to the bird

and studies it like it is his
first December and he kneels

and stares into its eyes
and he looks back at me again

and I give him nothing and he
looks to the bird, leaning close

and he kisses it once, softly,
on the forehead, near its eyes,

and he stands and walks away
and so I follow.


Ron Riekki’s books include And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2016 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes Best Regional Fiction), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book awarded by the Library of Michigan), and U.P.: a novel.