the offering

I first saw her as I walked
along the gravel road
out by the wheat fields
something drew my eye

shrouded in dust, cradled
by bleached grasses
feathers muddy and broken
she is silent
though her black bill
remains open

her skull is hollow now
empty sockets a tunnel
for the light

in death’s dance
outside is in
where her neck once curved
beads of bone
her brown and
speckled feathers

I kneel to look
more closely, then
touch her

these bones are cool
smooth like shells
feathers soft
under my fingers

then I see
what caught my eye
as the afternoon sun
finds her

still offering a flash
of mallard green

~ Catherine McLaughlin

Catherine McLaughlin is a poet, photographer, freelance writer. Her artistic work is often informed by the natural world, especially the Peace River Country in northern Alberta where she has lived for more than 30 years. She has always felt most at home on the land and it continues to fascinate her. Catherine’s poetry has been published in many publications and collections and twice she toured parts of central and southern Alberta, sharing her Peace Country poetry and photography. Her writing has attracted attention in several contests, including the People’s Poetry Fall Contest (1999) and the Grande Prairie Public Library’s poetry contest (2003).

2 Responses to “the offering”

  1. i like this quite a bit. thanks.

  2. Nice photograph still image, captured moment.

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