They arrived in the dark.
I’d lit candles all around the house,
except on the big table. Waiting.
Wrapped in colorful coats, holding
purses and journals and expectations,
they alighted on my doorstep.
Bird by bird.
I embraced them all,
even the strangers.
They circled around the kitchen
counter, got their drinks, and
pecked at the snacks.
Names were exchanged,
connections were made,
compliments were shared.
No one questioned why I had
a Jane Austen ball gown hanging
on my pantry door. (until later)
Then we gathered in the circle,
and breathed our collective breath.
The pens, and one pencil, emerged.
Some timidly, some boldly,
to scribe their words.
They were heard.
Names were dropped into the circle, like seeds.
Words, intentions, hopes and dreams were shared.
The candle flickered, and held their secrets.
They left in a flurry of jangling car keys,
re-wrapped grace scarves and last-minute questions,
and returned to the darkness from which they came.
But perhaps each carried, in their
hearts, the lit candle, a bit of warmth,
a sip of the sacred.
I cleaned up the kitchen,
went to bed, and closed my eyes.
When I opened them again, this time really opened them,
there they were, the birds, on the feeder.
Waiting for more.
In the garden.