A Bird in Hand by Shelly Jones

When the birds come, plumes molting, necks
craned to see your face, do not hesitate:
offer them seeds to peck at, wool for their nests,
scissors to snip snares from their wings.
In return, they will sift lentils from ashes,
collect pine cones nestled on the highest branches,
ribbon golden thread around the castle’s turrets,
while you watch their feathery feats in grateful admiration.

Photo by Jeffry Surianto on Pexels.com

Shelly Jones

Shelly Jones, PhD (she/her/hers) (@shellyjansen) is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Delhi, where she teaches classes in mythology, folklore, literature, and writing. Her speculative work has been published in Podcastle, New Myths, The Future Fire, and elsewhere.