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Alyse Bensel

Early Summer

Midwest wind has flung the nest 

from the pin oak that towers


over the yard: one dead chick 

is curled as if still inside 


its shell, while another claws

at brittle grass. No mother, 


I offer a shoe box

(sorry excuse for shelter) 


and a saucer of tap water. 

I know that this life


is hollow-boned, partial 

to breaking from the start.


I fail to prevent the inevitable.

The bird’s heat will disperse


back into the universe, 

brief and fantastic 


like a solar flare before 

an umbra swallows its shine.

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Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, South Dakota Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

Bear Review


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