Horrible Beauty

holding a birdYour warm, winged body
moves slightly as I cradle
you in my hands.
Hope springs eternal despite
the ugliness that has happened.
Have I saved you?

I hold your quivering body
for the last few minutes of your life.
Your eyes are open, do you see me?
Do you know that I would breathe
life into you if I could?

How can such a beautiful creature
do something so ugly?
The blue jay wails at me from the trees
for stealing his supper.
Your tiny head pecked like a nut.

One of its own, how can it be so evil
and so beautiful all at once?
How can I ever again see the beauty of
that great indigo creature
without the ugliness as well?

I feel your heart beating fast.
You try at first for just a moment
to free yourself from my gentle grasp
and then stop, still.
You are waiting to die.

Hope fills me impossibly as I
take note of your condition.
You still breathe!
Yet your fragile mouth is closed
at an odd angle, forever damaged.

Your pain is ended quickly
by the brave hand of someone I love
and trust and now am grateful to
for having the courage that I did not

It was enough that I let you go at all,
handing you over like some precious,
broken doll, knowing it cannot be fixed.

And afterwards, as I walk away from
your grave, feeling the sticky warmth
on the palms of my hands where
the last of your life bled onto me,
I feel like vomiting and screaming
all at once.

Wretched truth of life!
How I hate you!
Dreadful life, how can you be so beautiful
and so very ugly all at once?

I have no strength to scream.
I have no desire to do anything.
Nothing seems to matter or compare now.
For the rest of this day I am changed.
My eyes have seen absolute horror,
tiny life that it was and everything
is different now.

Nothing in my stupid life matters.
I want to fly away to a different place
where horrors like this cannot exist
and where the meek do inherit the earth.
What is wrong with softness anyway?
Why does nature condemn it so?

I suppose I wasn’t meant to know.

Copyright © 2002 Carrie Ryman • All rights reserved.