Man With Bird In Soul.jpg


Everyday he comes and goes

Like a beggar on the street

With no way to turn

But the direction from which he came—

If the streets were carpeted

Soft to the touch

The tread of his soles would

Scratch holes across the path

He has



Worn out, the man with the

Briefcase breathes heavily

Under the sun and

Under the moon

Inhaling and

Exhaling as he travels

Blind as he goes

Not because he has no head

But because he feels no pain

Or joy—

He is numb.


Numb since the day she

Walked away and

Numb when he remembers

The way

Her hips sway—

This way and that

And numb when he

Thinks of her name but cannot

Say it



Silently the bird in his soul—

The bird whose name is


Perches at the edge of her

Cage whose name is


And wishes for the day

She might once again





Flying in the air

Above the man

Is a bird whose name is


He flies up high and

Then he dips

And twirls

Like the tail of a kite giggling

In the wind

Awaiting the moment when

The Man

Opens his coat and

Sits on his bench

And sleeps—

Like a beggar on the street



Dreaming of her face—

The only face that is

Trapped inside the Man’s soul

Love watches with a keen and

Clever eye.

In one moment—

A moment whose approach is slow

Whose arrival is timed

By the gods

Whose watches are synchronized

To the beating of

Bird and human hearts—

The vigilant bird


The coat fall open


The Man sit down on his bench


Him close his eyes and

Seizes this



“Freedom does not live in the sky,”

He sings.

“Freedom lives inside Alive.”

Love drifts down

Through blue and through clouds

And alights

With bars between himself and


The one who holds his


Inside of her

Inside a cage

The one who

Knew he would



“Come to me every day,”

She wanted to say

But instead she said,

“You must not waste the time

Waiting by my side

When all the world

Sprawls before your gaze.”

Love ruffled his feathers

And looked into her eyes,

“Until you are here with


just you and me—

I will come and sit with you



Everyday Love came

Just as he said he would

And the earth turned slowly

From summer

To autumn

To winter

To spring

Their stories grew and

The details they knew

Poured through the bars

Like drops of water


From watering cans

Growing their love

Growing him and growing



Her days inside,

Her will to survive,

Alive and Love

Together traveled through

Until the day

The Man stepped anew

Off his carpet of same

Tattered and

Worn through by

His shoes—

First one and then two—

Onto a path where four

Could move

His loafers and

Her daintier

High heels of



Blue turned to joy

Joy turned to alive

And Alive for the first time


The Man let her fly

As his heart said

Goodbye to the

Pain that was keeping

Alive inside the cage

Inside his



Souls in the air

Free with


No longer bound

But soaring high

Strengthened by

The time in the cage

And by flying





copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo Credit: René Magritte, The Healer.  On display at Hirshhorn Museum And Sculpture Garden, January 2016