Sometimes the night exists for me alone.
Sinking into a fevered sleep that turns
Me slowly inside out, my body burns
Like that mythical bird. I stand alone,
Old sins confess and cast a second stone.
It bounces back at me. My heart unlearns
Its metaphors and comes to newer terms
With mortality. Now would I atone
For everything but love on my birthday,
If I could - singing God's incarnate Word
Till death, broken-winged in a bright meadow,
Echoes each feathery note back to clay.
And so I am; and sometimes like that bird
I stand in the grave of my own shadow.