hides the empty
hides the empty
eyes paws ears leap
Golly. When I first cut and pasted this from my worksheet doc, I had added lick from both Buffy and Laura S. as word 29--I'm a sucker for alliteration (and who among us ain't?). But then, as Laura notes, that does rather limit the critter, since I can't picture anything leaping and licking except a dog.
This became suddenly problematic, for I am not a dog person. Now, I know that many (most?) people are dog people, but for the purposes of this poem--and bearing in mind that there are really VERY many dog poems--I suddenly decided that finally works better. It captures all that whistling and whispering and wishing and hoping, and while typically one whistles for a dog, I can see someone whistling for a lost mouse or ferret or rabbit as well.
Early yesterday both Mary Lee and Daisy independently wondered the same way about "fiery code," and it's coming up in other comments too. Let me tell you why that worked (and is still working) for me, although I may yet see the need to revise. To me, the peak birthday moment is that moment when the candles are all lit and everyone is singing and you're gathering breath and putting your face right next to the undeniably dangerous flames and making your wish and knowing that a) you must not tell your wish and b) you must blow all the candles out at once and c) if there are those rules then there might be other rules, like how you encode your wish might actually matter.
For me, the poem begins in that moment, when the birthday child can think of nothing but the cage that has stood empty for days, and how the special whistle has not worked, and how encoding the wish exactly right in the blowing of that fiery, dramatic moment might do the trick...and then nothing. The moment is over and the presents received, and no amount of happy wrapping can overcome the sadness of that empty cage. Maybe "hides" is the problem?
I'd be very curious about how that first stanza reads to everyone else--I was sure that you'd be suggesting changes to "subtle wishes,/buried hope," since for me the energy seems to drop there and I'm not sure we're getting enough out of those words. Last call for revisions!
And just one more time, may I say how much I'm loving this deep work at the word level? And one more time, how much I appreciate those who have dropped in to play along?