For some of us death is a black leather suitcase.

We carry it everywhere and savor

the smell and texture while unpacking

in motel rooms, hear the swish of underbrush

against its sides, notice rainwater

beading on the flat surfaces when we hitchhike.

It is full, and we are always surprisedó

a suitcase like sleep, or like the third brother's

pouch of wonders he got from and enchanted fox.

Then one day, at the bottom of all the shirts

and combs and guidebooks and underwear,

we uncover a bright bird hiding,

and it flies, looking neither right nor left,

through the ceiling on the whistle of its wings.

James Owens