He held a hand in a hand,
Kneading the joints.
A tired etched bluebird looked north
Between thumb and forefinger,
The arch of its nose lost in folds of sunken skin.
He was at a loss, consumptive lungs begging
For the still chapel air
As they sang
How Great Thou Art.
He rose with the voices
In hanging black pants
And sought his voice, too
But it was lost in sickness and sorrow.
When it was over – when the weak light
Hid the mourners, a nurse’s arm
Fell to his shoulders,
A soft hand cradled the bird