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When Children Are Torn From Their Families

The cardinal calls his robust evening tune.
He calls morning.
She responds from under the rhododendron,
protecting their young.

Inside the wire cages that hold them,
Rosita holds her young, wailing cousin.
Can they hear the cardinal?

What I trust is my oak.
Squirrels dig in their claws,
run up down, around its trunk.
A cardinal alights, then flies again.
On its low branches, bluebirds.
A tiny white moth flutters around lavender buds.

In the school where I was teaching,
Paco, struggling to speak and read American              English,
drew red, white and blue
and red white and green on white paper.
Is he huddling inside the wires?

In the bluebird house I nailed to my studio,
the birds feed their young.
Rabbits hide beneath the weeping redbud.

published in Snapdragon Journal, Summer 2019

Norma Bradley is both a poet and multimedia visual artist who has shared her love of poetry and community visual art installations at schools, re-hab centers and hospitals for more than twenty-five years. Her poems have appeared in The Avocet, Great Smokies Review, From The Listen Place: Languages of Intuition and other journals.

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