Poem with a line from Tomaž Šalamun

Is the little bird torn apart
by a paw?
Does the dream
of flying above the white
sheet of a sea haunt it,
as it does me? In the hill
town where I was raised
though not born, once
a week, in a wooden school-
room, a nun taught us
about music and the smell
of lavender flowers. Decant
is a word that applies to sound
as it does to memory and scent.
When the bells peal at dusk
and in early morning, don’t you
see the shapes with which
they petal our heads? Tenderness
is the day-old bread we break
with our hands and dip in milk
to feed to the smallest ones,
those whose hearts have not yet
swallowed sadness whole.

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