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"Mirrored" by Writer Sam Spieller

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

At our July show Fragile, Sam Spieller shared with us their poem, "Mirrored", titled in reflection of the exhibition theme. Sam Spieller is a local Portland writer and editor, having studied at University of California, Davis, and Boston University. They also cohost a weekly podcast about the encompassing genre of fiction, called Canonical. You can listen anywhere that podcasts are streamed.


By Sam Spieller

The thud interrupting the morning

Calm and cold even for winter.

Outside, before the glass,

The limp form of a bird,

Throat sequined, its heart

Beating a thousand an instant.

The world’s smallest drum.

I held it—not sure

What else to do,

As a young boy—

Stroked its head,

And waited.

Then I gave up.

But it didn’t.

Its eyes eased open,

Widened, blinked, and

As my hands loosened,

The sounds of the Earth

Returning to that frozen moment,

The drum quickened.

I blinked too,

And each remex flexed,

One thrust and it was off, The plume gone,

My palms trying to keep

The memory from fading.

What elation!

Over years, I selfishly hoped,

Pined to witness that

Rebirth again,

Even in light of pain.

I grew almost desperate

To feel that surge of passion,

The heat of my blood

An incubator.

To save, to rescue,

To return to sky

What meant not a final fall.

They did not all survive.

Some, their oily prints still

The only blemish on the mirrored sky,

Could not overcome gravity,


Severed spines,

Specks of blood and spit

Spotting the lore

And supercilium.

A hummingbird,

Its tongue trying to taste

An invisible flower.

The sparrow’s legs like antennae,

Catching no signal.

They found permanent residence

In the garden,

In memory.

A collection of doomed beauty.

Once, as I cradled

The latest patient,

You said,

“You’re setting yourself up for failure.”

I looked up to find you,

But you were obscured

By the glare

And reflection.

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