Small Hearts


by Laura Stott

A moon rises and children parade

around the corner carrying

colorful birds in their hands.

They are so careful with their secrets.

They want to be asked, What kind

of blue is your bird?

This is childhood: In each doorway

they let one fly, exotic wings folding

still on the steps, behind

screen doors,

or disappearing, a small point

in a blank sky.

Birds flutter through hallways,

large white and iridescent

green feathers. They land on linoleum

kitchen floors, beside windows

that look on old back yards.

Door to door the children are gathering sweets

and a little boy dashes across the grass,

carrying something bright and orange,

its tail waving behind him like a flag.

One is given an apple,

another a bit of cake.

What kind of blue is your bird?