Ava Remembers Her Canaries

Now this gives us something to ponder …


The most recent issue of Image Magazine (Winter 2014-15, #33) included a remarkable poem by Emily Rose Cole, one based on a narrative set in 1888 that presents the complexities of a father-daughter relationship. Titled “Allegheny Country, 1888: Ava Remembers Her Canaries,” the poem presents Ava’s love for her canaries and her father’s real reason for having them in the first place, as a fail-safe detector of gas in the mine.

After a beautiful description of Ava’s passion and her father’s practicality, we discover how one night she stealthily slipped out of the house to set all of the birds free. That little act of liberation cost her a whipping, but that’s not all. As she later reflected on her on her deceased miner father she wrote:

“What I have left of my father –
on my back: five raised ridges from his belt buckle;
in my breast pocket: a…

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