local_library Outside the Aviary

by Sarah Wetzel

Published in Issue No. 214 ~ March, 2015

After three months, only a thin white line remains,

the cut almost vanishing into her wrist

as into the dusk, a spider’s fine filament.

The rain had slowed to a drizzle


as the freshmen file one by one into her classroom.

She can’t recall the story she’d asked them

to read, the plot she’d wanted to teach.

Instead, she gathers them up


and they walk to a nearby park. They stop

in front of the aviary, stare

into its enormous depths empty of birds

except for a single pigeon.


She’d assigned the students to describe

one of the marble goddesses

inhabiting the park’s grounds and fountains, imagine

some kind of drama.


No one noticed her arm’s pale bracelet

any longer

though for a few weeks of autumn

it had been the first unasked question.


No one starts the story about a statue.

Instead, she and the students spend the morning

clipping open a hole large enough

for a pigeon

                    to escape from an aviary.

account_box More About

Sarah Wetzel is the author of River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Publication Prize and was published by Red Hen Press in 2015, and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published in 2010. A PhD student in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, Sarah also teaches creative writing at The American University of Rome. You can read more of her work at www.sarahwetzel.com.