When he found it, we said let it alone,
call the police.  But he tampered with it,
took money out before a squad car arrived.
Baffled, the officers grew annoyed,
made accusations of hoax, and he
protested, saying he found it while walking
on the beach.  And I can tell you that
was true, and the officers took the bag away.

What do you believe in?
That night, the electrical blew.
In the blacked – out house were three who—
not long after—died in succession.
The two who lived there were
ill already, but the third died accidentally,”in waters of a lake in another state.

What can I tell you?  Ignorance of that world
allows me only this:
the bag was blue cloth that held a
wealth of wrapped candies,
money—all in coins—and the dead
sea bird, head doubled back on its body.
Placed not on lawn but sand.  Low wall and road
between.  Aligned with the door of the house.

There was a room there I never
slept in well, entered with reluctance.
Place that birthed malaise, a feeling of
being watched.  Where wind in the narrow
corridor between that house and the next,
sang of something thwarted.  Where fog horn
oppressed, when elsewhere it pleased.

Some speak of energy, auras.  How
dwellings soak them up.  I’ll say
I do not think that house had been happy
for some years.  We loved its people
though their own love kept each other
captive.  New links every year.  Too proud and  
interdependent, they grew isolated there.
Illness came; there were no friends close by
who knew enough to care.  Help was hired—
different women—and out of them came one
who knew of rituals none of us knew.

Pieces are missing, you know?  Something owed,
some grudge.  Or the wish to be free
at whatever cost, confessed or intuited.
She was a woman who knew of a man.
Or a woman in touch through
another woman.  Right there
in town.  Be careful what you ask for.
What is summoned will be strong.
What comes can’t be sent away.

Yet we’d had good times there, sitting
round the table.  We’d loved them, tried to help,
and near the end we sensed a rage
so palpable it was the furniture, the art work
and the walls: a darkness where love unraveled
and the house tensed itself and then
that person entered their lives,
went away and returned.
          Morning arrived:
Long Island Sound looked flat and calm.
The bag lay on the beach.

image: Passenger Pigeon. Plate 23 in Volume 1 of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and Bahamas by Mark Catesby, George Edwards published in 1754. Also mentioned as Palumbus migratorius. Tree is red oak. Public Domain.

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