Purgatorial Perceptions

by Mark Stucky

In the basement, I heard fluttering sounds
coming from inside the old chimney.
Cautiously opening the clean-out trap,
I came nose-to-beak with a panicked bird.
Having fallen down the depths
of the narrow furnace flu,
it now lacked sufficient strength and space
to escape through the constricted ascent.

With gloved hands, I reached in
to grab the imprisoned sparrow.
It pecked and struggled in my grip
because in its terrified mind
mine were the hands of death,
plucking it from purgatorial confinement
to surely crush its desperate hope
and condemn its soul to aviary hell.

Carrying my captive outside,
I opened my hands to the sky,
and the set-free sparrow flew
into tree-top liberty
but without giving me
even a thankful tweet.

But can any mind fully comprehend
crises as dangerous opportunities?
Or that a frying pan exit path
might lead through fire into freedom?
Or that seemingly certain death
could actually bring salvation?

Mark D. Stucky has degrees in religious studies, pastoral ministry, and communications. After being a pastor, he became a technical and freelance writer. In his day job, he’s documented technology products (ranging from building automation to satellite communications). In free time, he’s written articles, stories, and poems on a variety of (usually spiritual) topics. He believes in following facts and faith, understanding other perspectives, preserving the earth, protecting the vulnerable, and saving the world (or at least trying to). For more writings, see cinemaspirit.info.

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