Taking Measures

By C. Wade Bentley

Posted on

I wrap them like fine china in layers
of old newspapers and bubble wrap
still I know that the moving man

will drop the box or hit a pothole
on that bad stretch of road heading
out of town and something will crack.

All spring I have watched song
sparrows readying their nest in the rotting
crotch of a birch tree, laying in twigs

and leaves and feathers, lacing it up
string pulled from the canvas
deck chairs, only to have the arborist

take the tree down on a day I wasn’t there
to remove, first, the nest with its four
mottled brown-and-white eggs—

which needed to be done, he said,
to save our house from a windstorm
whose inevitable coming he foretold.

I still tiptoe past their empty rooms
at night, throw salt over my left
shoulder, batch the bad things

that pop up on my news feed into
groups of three, but leave my phone
in the other room at night, willfully

believing that bad news will wait,
that one can take one’s medicine
in the morning, that the sun will rise.

– C. Wade Bentley