One Day I Was Watching the Birds

The spit-polish grackles and the blackbirds with their bright razors

tucked in each wing, and the purple finch

disoriented, absent-minded,

a nuthatch-tuft nosing above the crammed yard—whirling dazedly,

near-sated, in full arcs around

the thin, pecked perch—the house wrens

gobbling seed, the slivered, empty shells rising

to hills of spackled dust.


They got fatter and fatter and more indiscriminate, drinking

water from the banged-out garbage lid, beaking

the house and its rusted gutter for loose shingle-grit—

chittering, vomiting husk.

Crows became suet-begotten bags on wings.

Bloat-plumaged sparrows lost their litheness. Lusterless sleeks pumping

dully in circles. What miracle or horror propelled them to veer back?


Their small bird-bellies aching as though empty

even after they'd had their fill, even after

their wings rammed

brutally into one another

until their little green tower of seeds cracked, fell, hemorrhaging

my heart of squirrel, flooding out my eye of rabbit.