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“Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.”

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

We’re always left to ponder,
where do birds go when they die?
Do they disintegrate in the air,
or return to the ground?

I held my last bird in my hands.
Willie.
As the vet injected him, I was able to pet his head for the first time,
and last.
I told him to say hello to the other birds when he gets there,
but it’s not heaven. Heaven doesn’t exist.
Ether does.
And the souls of all the little birds surround us, in the air beyond the clouds.

We’re always left to ponder,
where do the Ravens go when they die?
Do they, as the saying goes,
become part of the dark sky?
Are they shrouded by the ebony wings of their unkindred,
and die in secret?

Pigeon, I see your feathers on the ground.
Maybe just two with no body, perfectly staged like a killer’s art.
What did you take…
or what was taken from you?

We’re always left to ponder, how does the hummingbird die?
Tiny, fragile, in the cup of a hand,
or drowning in the nectar of a foxglove.

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