As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Tori Cárdenas – Poetry

Trapped Bird


the stove had finally slept through the night.

morning rose crisp and wet. nana in the kitchen as always.

grandpa with the paper that was delivered each morning at five.


he bellowed for two eggs over-easy as if he were at a diner.

folding my hands i said papitas please and thank you nana,

when something knocked with tiny fingers against the stovepipe.


my nana’s clock tweeted every hour. every hour

a different bird whistled a short song and we knew

what time it was without looking at the wall.


at eight o’clock, the blue and white mockingbird

greeted us and a voice from the stovepipe answered.

it answered in a soprano thinner than cobwebs.

this bird learning to fly, its baby throat clogged with black

soot and creosote, struggled for some kind of escape,

from grandpa’s morning anger that lasted into evening.


we opened every window and he released it into the house.

it fluttered and it screamed. he chased its frail body

with the spiked end of the broom. i feared he would kill it and i cried.


finally, it flew out of an open window back to air,

back to freedom, back to its mother and the lilies,

back to its nest that it knew before it knew my grandpa.


when nana died we opened every window

so she could get out, back to freedom, back to air,

back to her mother and the lilies, back home,


so grandpa would stop chasing her with the broom.


Tori Ca¦ürdenasTori Cárdenas is from Taos, New Mexico. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Dual Bachelor’s of Arts in History and Creative Writing. In addition to writing  poetry, Tori enjoys writing and playing music, and reading every book she can get her hands on. She is currently applying for MFA programs in Poetry.


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