Why is it that, so often, we receive gifts
that we are not meant to keep?
Do we still thank the giver
for our wild and fleeting joy?
Do we steal the blessing home
and make space for it on a dusty shelf?
Yesterday I almost stepped on a turkey feather –
brown and white, slender and slightly curved,
longer than my forearm from shaft to tip.
I spun it between my fingers,
felt a slight give in the quill where it once
was joined with skin, and wondered
why it must hurt a bird so much
to molt this precious, deep-rooted part of itself
yet when we lose a strand of hair, we feel no pain.
So I gave the feather
back to the ground, where it belonged,
because no shelf, no picture frame,
no end table could replace
the warm and receptive cradle that is the earth,
because we have taken so much from the world
and now it is time to give something back.
Tell me, what would you have done
if you had stumbled upon such gold?
What will you do with that gift
if you know it can grace your hands
once and only once?
Sara Letourneau is a poet, freelance editor / writing coach, and columnist at the writing resource website DIY MFA. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Muddy River Poetry Review, Canary, The Curry Arts Journal, Soul-Lit, Eunoia Review, Underground Voices, and elsewhere. She lives in Massachusetts. https://saraletourneauwriter.com/