She came to me as a hand-fed squab,
soft, silk feathers the color of snow.
We kept her in a large screened cage
fastened to our bedroom wall,
where she perched and cooed and
rearranged her lovely white wings
that clapped in the air with a soft
whistling whenever I let her fly about
the living room, which was every day.
We named her Snow White,
needless to say the Disney in me still
nested in my heart like a little dove egg.
She had small feet, red as a rose,
with tiny toes sporting delicate nails
that pattered lightly against the gravel
sprinkled on the paper lining the bottom
of the cage.
Her eyes, two bright anthracite beads,
sparkled with delight each time I’d reach
inside her home and gently nudge below
her breast with the edge of my open hand,
offering her a nest of palm and fingers.
She loved when I ran my forefinger down
the back of her head and between her folded
She’d fan her tail and nestle down,
close her eyes softly and dream whatever
One morning, just three years from the day
we brought her home, I found her lying
on the floor of her cage.
She lay on her side, her rose-red feet clenched
as if ready to fly, her wings slightly separated
from her sides, her tail feathers snapped shut
like Venetian blinds, and her little coal-colored
eyes, closed as if sleeping.
I lifted her up, cradling the stiff body in my hands,
the downy neck and elegant head dangled to one side
as I pressed her feathered breast to my lips,
giving her one last mournful kiss.
But I had no princely power to lift death’s curse,
to awaken beauty.
I had only sorrow and the magic of verse to speak
about ever after.
P. C. Scheponik has published four collections of poems: Psalms to Padre Pio (National Centre for Padre Pio, INC), A Storm by Any Other Name and Songs the Sea has Sung in Me (PS Books, a division of Philadelphia Stories), And the Sun Still Dared to Shine (Mazo Publishers), and Stained-Glass Faith (Alien Buddha Press). A 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee, his work has appeared in numerous literary journals and fared well in multiple competitions. His newest collection, Seeing, Believing, and Other Things, is scheduled for publication by Adelaide Books in Spring 2021.