by Lauren Paredes

Mother, the snowbird from Upstate New York,
has the stature of a stork carrying babies
across state lines. She’s in the Sunshine State now—
no, not Disney World for this bird who favors Snow White
because she was born before she was born,

but in the country. Here is the real Florida, she says,
parking her six-speed in Clermont on Main Street.
I wait and look for elderly Americans, but there’s nothing.
This is kenopsia1 before I knew the word but first felt it.
She doesn’t see all that is misplaced but wants to go inside

all the antique shops run by ex-snowbirds.
Then she flies me down the hill to the water’s edge.
There are usually waves, she says. Another thing missing.
My snowbird really does love snow though, so it’s weird
to see her nested in the land of sweltered days and 4 PM rain.

She watches too much TLC now, takes reality
television for reality. On her birthday,
she doesn’t feel like going down to the pool.
Instead, for the second time, she watches
the DVD proving Heaven to be true.

The snowbird was good at working her way
down the Eastern Seaboard. New England: A home once.
Then a ten-year Virginian detour in a little yellow birdhouse.
I wondered why you didn’t stay, snowbird—you loved all 4 seasons,
and I’ve never been convinced of your reasoning.

Snowbird, today I thought of you when reading
a quote from a woman who pruned her identity
from all her actions. She said, “I was driven
out of my house by the fear of losing it.”
I know why you go now, so I don’t need to ask:

In the beginning
you flew for God, or the fear of losing him;
and then for me to be born… or the fear of losing out;
nd then for us to find peace, or the fear of losing it,
and then to chase love South, the fear of losing him.

At Homosassa Springs I tell you how the flamingoes
stopped me in my tracks with their electric pink
and perfect tree pose. But they are like ostriches
when they hide their faces in the zoo water, and soon
I notice that your plume don’t look so good, mother.

1n. the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Lauren Paredes is a storyteller across mediums with a soft spot for the unusual. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, and her work has appeared in The Gold Man Review, DigBoston, Spark and Fizz, and the upcoming Grapple Annual No. 2. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon.