Over two months since my loved one left
to fight in a dangerous war,
our robin laid her eggs.
Tiny, innocent babes
warmed by the rays of aurorean sunrise
as it caresses their armored shells.
The sight made me feel warm again
even walking around our silent
home, an empty nest
awaiting your glorious return.
I hope you’ll be back soon.
Excitement kept me at the window,
peeking over our sparkling lawn.
It’s overgrown now, wild and messy.
But none of that matters when I see you pull in
an antique smile on your tanned face.
You smell the same.
I can’t wait to show you the robinettes.
They never hatch.
Countless suns wrap around them,
yet they remain still.
I shiver as I close the navy curtains,
enveloping myself in silence once again.
I feel like I’ve lost something.
Your touch comes through glass.
The stillness is broken by crackles
of anger echoing through the house,
an invisible mine field,
a lit fuse awaiting to burst or die out.
What happened out there?
Today, I decided to peek through the curtains,
a horrific, ghostly mistake.
The shells are broken
by what I don’t know—
dead robin carcasses splayed over the nest.
Peace was just a breath before the next onslaught.
The war came back with you
and it beat you until you became an empty shell.
The house is eerily silent now,
filled with my quiet cries and buried memories.
The sky is snowlike today
and all I feel is numb.
Years later, the taps still echo
in my mind, a constant reminder
of strength and loss, courage and pain.
I love you all the more for it
and the new robinettes that hatched do, too.
Their chirps can be heard from our rooftop
and the sun continues to rise and warm the world.
Ireland Smith is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Chemistry, Psychology, and Literature. She plans to attend medical school next fall and become a physician. In the meantime, she enjoys writing poems to express complex human emotions and experiences, and often confronts heavy issues in her poetry to bring social awareness to them. She graciously thanks everyone who has been supportive of her writing over the years.