“The Empty Thrush” by Jason Sturner

The wind carries thrush notes
down from forest to field,
circling flowers, bouncing off bees,
snapping spiders off their webs.

It serenades memories
from the mind's lethargy,
calling me to an inner sanctuary;
a place a woman's heart has built.

I cut through the tangled vines of solitude
and step out into the world.
Warmth and beauty fill the landscape
in every direction. The paths are many.

I saunter and fill with hope as I go,
down a fragrant trail to a garden of stone.
Here the sky reaches only so high, and I
become an empty voice.

I see her there, beyond the stone wall,
sitting among caged birds and dying flowers.
The sunset has covered her eyes like eyelids.
She pivots inside time.

In a cage beside her is a thrush,
its song blown and scattered across the pavement.
Her lips tremble. Her eyes break like windows
with a storm blowing in, all their color floods out.

I run to her in a yell – alive, determined,
each step sinking deeper into the mud.
Her image pulls away and turns to mist.
I collapse among the cherubim.

And so it is, that an old song can wither away
and spin quietly down the drain of time –
no longer allowing one to love
the way they were once loved.