Walking the streets of
         Brookline, how often I have
come across broken vacuum cleaners-
     discarded, garbage day- and I
laugh because I know that half
            of them will be picked up by
     my father, fixed, and given to a
  grateful neighbor- "Can you believe
    it," he will say," A broken switch!" or
         "A penny got stuck in the
blades!" and then I'd hear that Depression-
      era chuckle, him shaking his head,
         wondering at the ways of
   my world. Less often

 I walk the streets of
            Brookline and see along the
curb or by the side of a building, a
    bird lying dead, a little sparrow, not
much left, flattened, just a ruffle of
           feathers really, and I wonder- a
 cat? a car? was it pushed from its
         nest?-and I think how no one can
fix it, though we know all the
    parts, beak, eyes, wings,
               cells, down to the invisible gossamer
  strands of DNA, and if we tried, even my Dad
      who can fix pretty much anything, it
wouldn't work, it will never fly again, because this
            was a miracle-so where are the
crowds on the sidewalk, the all-night vigils, like
         when the face of the Virgin Mary is discovered
  in a stain on some dirty window?- yes, a miracle,
          this shadow that once soared,
                this flattened thing, this ruffle of feathers.

February 2, 2007

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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