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Assertiveness Training

Assertiveness Training

April Fool’s Day, snow flurries, dark sky,

winter hanging on like the flu, my day’s

first patient in her seat by the window,

so shy she can’t make a friend. But she’s

calmer on meds and we’re rehearsing how

to say “hello” when—and I swear this is true—

a ruby crowned kinglet perches on a branch

six inches beyond the glass, less than an ounce

of flesh and feathers puffed up against the cold,

belting out a brash, bold claim of power and spring-

time territory, raucous and free as a New Orleans

trumpet, my patient locked-in to the wild tune.

When the one-man-band flies, she sits taller,

a clear note in her voice, brass in her eyes.

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