OSPREY NEST, Grace Harriman

Osprey Nest
by Grace Harriman

When the blizzard moved
Out to sea
I broke the deep drifts
Out to the last pine
A lookout over New Meadows River. Close by the tree
I found a winter crime scene:
High winds had knocked down
The Osprey’s mammoth nest.

I lifted the heavy nest,
Fingers tingled
As I turned it right side up.
From its private center,
Spiraling outward
In widening bands of sturdy sticks,
Aligned by mud and sea grass,
The nest expanded
To find its ideal width.

I have spoken, touched, gestured,
But what I leave behind will not reflect
The intention and care
In this fallen nest.

But I have, standing knee deep
In snow that has finished off a winter,
Worked at meaning and words
With similar persistence.
To see the interior of the fallen nest
Is not only a sacred gift,
But a fossil cracked open for me
To read the hieroglyphics of effort.

The Osprey’s sticks
As words expanding
Until they are a poem.
Sticks, an alphabet to build,
From what we have gathered,
What we hope endures.

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