When you were small, you
cried out some nights in
the voice of a trapped bird and
I ran to release you.
But the crying went on as
you flapped your wings against
a cage I couldn’t see.
Eyes wide open you
were caught between waking and
sleep and to sleep would return
if I let you be. So when next I heard
your sharp bird-cry, I tethered myself
to my bed, straining against my
mother-will, until you were
still and I heard the rustling
of the leaves outside my window.
Leah Johnson is a poet, writer, teacher, and musician. She was a full-time professor in the Writing Studies Program at American University in Washington, DC. for twenty-years and is a member of The Surrey Street Poets. Her work has been published in Green Mountains Review Online, The Healing Muse, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and The Ekphrastic Review. In previous incarnations, she has been a journalist, co-founder and artistic director of Georgetown’s Dumbarton Concerts, and a piano teacher.