Sharon Venezio

A Cathedral of Birds


My father curses my hands
as I drip 3 milligrams of morphine
into his mouth.

His body resists,
hands grasp at the metal bars
on the side of the bed,

grunting at his failure
to pull himself out of the bed
and out of his dying.


I project his nature photographs
onto the ceiling

a brown-bellied swallow

but his eyelids no longer open
to the world.

a great blue heron

His breathing becomes an ocean

a pacific swift diving toward the sea

his lungs fill with fluid,
the oxygen no longer enough.

A blur of wings fills the room.

Sharon Venezio is the author of The Silence of Doorways (March 2013, Moon Tide Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Spillway, Bellevue Literary Review, Reed, and elsewhere. She is also featured in the anthology Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond as well as the anthology Stone, River, Sky: an Anthology of Georgia Poems. She lives in Ventura where she is a behavior analyst specializing in autism.

Next poem

Previous poem

Spring 2021