For several days I’ve watched a robin beat
Herself repeatedly against a window.

An oracle. A bird-sign that augurers
Once understood.
It breaks my heart to see
Her wanting some illusion in the glass
As much as I want things I cannot have:
Assurance that my children never suffer;
An ordinary life where things make sense.

We hurl ourselves at hope. We try to read
The symboled wonders signaled in the world,
But often it’s the obvious we miss:
A billboard, a street sign.
On that college tour,
The basement entrance warned me, “Mind Your Head!”
Years later, the hiking trail said, “Watch Your Step!”
The demolition placard said, “Stand Clear!”
And now a city crosswalk sign reminds me
To “Walk With Light!”

Articles by Wilmer Mills

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