Beside the pond edge, he notes what’s left behind
Then watches the swan take flight
Until the bird reaches unimaginable heights.
It is here he spots a fleeting trace of a cloud.
Holding the feather up to sky he compares, considers nature’s details.
Both suspended… one in the water; one in the air
One filled with water droplets, dust particles—destined to vanish.
One filled with water droplets, particles– with quill, shaft—designed to last.
Both having been essential to something’s survival.
Both left behind.
The cloud scatters; he trods the hardened path home– feather held close to his heart.
Marching through the front door, to his room, to closet door,
he drops on his knees and pulls out a wooden box.
Opening the lid, he lays the feather inside
atop a fossil with a miniature footprint,
a seashell gripping a sand particle,
a pinecone holding seeds beneath its scales.
And, a withered bean, with secreted pods.
Exhausted from her day at the factory, his mother throws together the evening meal as his sister chatters on a cell phone, and the man in the house watches the news on a large screen TV. The boy sits at the supper table, waiting, eager to share his day and what he found after school. His teacher had used the word naturalist in science class. I want to be a naturalist, he thinks. I will live in a cabin in a forest, collect things, and create a museum to share with others.
“Time for supper,” his mother yells.
“Not yet!” his sister snaps.
“This world’s gone crazy,” the man laments and turns up the volume on the television. Shaking his head, he pulls out a chair at the table, and grabs a slice of bread.
“I found a feather today,” the boy says.
Kathy Stauffer is a
lyrical Iowa poet
Thou Shalt Not,
Do Not Be Deceived
Christian suspense fiction