birds

winter upon us

Shook elms lining the sloped

edges of a pitted road drop

their dying leaves while

Simon with Sam heave-ho

the grounded ones then

threaten each other with

pellets and rope.

Somewhere above the

yellow-brown heaps,

one songbird calls to

a white-winged friend:

“sweet-sweet-sweet”

and feeds her slick babies

black beetles and yarn.

What was once

dark was gray

after became hope

wanting to wind

its way down

to the ankles of

Carlisle Mountain

and lap at the feet

of the widow who

longed for that fat

girl Sanne to return

home and lie about.

October

robin egg

I will tell you about the naked oak in our yard and about

my dead robin, June, who couldn’t fly south for winter

and about the Cooper’s hawk that swooped down to eat

the poor thing, pecking first at a dull eye, while close by

two cracked eggs, each the size of a large jelly bean,

lay oozing yolk and about the cold sky pulled thin and

plumed across my low horizon and about Hyena, with

his pail full of silver buckshot, who shouted from across

the avenue, “Wanna lick my lollipop, pancake tits?”

while behind him two fat boys cackled, with Br’er

Rabbit, the older by some years, in Daddy’s pink shirt

and about mother leaving for the City, her thin

lips painted plump, and about my gray lunch

congealing in a tin pan that sat on the top rack of a

cold oven and about the canned peaches she dumped

into a tea cup and placed on a shelf in her

refrigerator. But not yet and not here

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Bird poop

Bird

Today I have been called to write about bird crap and about why it upsets me so when I find it thickly smeared across my car. It’s not that I have a fancy, immaculately clean automobile I am compelled to overprotect. No. It’s a gray Toyota Yaris I wash and vacuum a few times a year, after which I am pretty well done with the whole business.

But, when I headed out to do some food shopping this afternoon and found the entire front end and windshield of the car covered with the foul, crusty stuff, I nearly lost my own s**t, as they say.

In part, my extreme response has to do with my pride and with my not wanting neighbors and passersby on the road to think I don’t know how to maintain my property—and hence myself. As if anyone pays attention to whether or not I have a clean automobile.

When I really think about my reaction, though, I find I am most deeply disturbed by the fact that we are no match for Mother Nature. Ever. No matter how many times, in this instance, we might try to outsmart her by keeping our cars in garages—or by vacuuming, washing. and polishing them—sooner or later we will all get shat upon. And copiously.

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