Adam’s Song

by James Richards

Tommy was the first pet I had in Eden,
par'a-keet" seemed to fitsmall parrot
with long tail, the color of apple, new leaf,
and lemon; harsh, irritating song.
I called it screaming at first but my softer side
said, "Song, Adam, song."

Eve taught me about mu'sic—a medley
of sounds and tones, as of the wind.
Cain taught me that some music is hard
to hear: "Father, I have killed Abel
and buried myself where frozen stars
draw black flowers from my grave."
That was a song.

I clipped Tommy's wings that day,
with scis'sorsa cutting instrument, two pivoted blades.
I gathered the yellow, green, and dark
red shadows in the valley of my palm.
Eve sang a music I could hardly hear.
I inserted one-by-one into the warm earth of Abel's grave
the cool feath'ers—lighter than flowers, less afraid
of flying; colorfast and hardened by a harsh song.