Nest

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The day I scratch the mark that marks two years

a bird arrives to tug a weed that spreads

between my bars, for nesting. Lest it disappears

I offer it some tattered blanket threads.

Now threadbare, worn to nothing, five years hence

that blanket offers no warmth in the chill

but warmth comes daily when my bird descends

now to my bunk, our trust so that it will

exchange for strands such gifts as please me best.

It brings me shiny things. Some buttons bright,

some coins the guards are happy to accept,

some bottle tops that glisten in the light,

some nails, which I sharpen to a point,

some bullets from a lazy copper’s joint.

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