Leap Year

tomorrow is your birthday
dusk’s air is braided
with gluttonous hummingbirds
ruby and emerald feathers blazing
I eat their glow

ravenous for light
my body a hungry bowl

those tiny beasts are mating, diving
through baby leaves,
trilling
their earnest love song

I remember the poem
I chanted to you, of the world

you had yet to burst through

I watch soon-to-be mothers collect
forgotten feathers, soft bits of moss
pliable twigs, nuzzling and nudging until

their nests are ready

on your birthday, there is no labor, no blood
there is only me
and the dark morning carving
a grave for your absence

I crawl in, too

and look:
there is the brave dawn
climbing up night’s valley,
her bright limbs waving
carrying a dazzling gift

she remembers you

Katie Gleason is a social worker, counselor, poet and teacher living in Arizona. She is Master student of and workshop teacher for The Writers Studio Tucson. Her work has appeared in Gnarled Oak and O-Dark-Thirty, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now inhabits the desert with her husband and two greyhounds.

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