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Bird Feeder In the Rain

ISSUE:  Autumn 1990
The cardinal in the privet hedge
Enjoying the splashing drops
Cocks his black mask, flits tail.
Nervy, frolicsome, his fate
Is not to know he’s red, ephemeral
In a dumb world. His drab mate
Keeps her grip on the clothesline pole,
Husking a seed, flinging mist and debris.
She wings off. He follows momentarily.

A migrating flock of evening grosbeaks
Gabble and fritter with their pods,
Outbattle the fat indignant jays,
Overfed residents, jealous of their place.

An angry door bangs. The grosbeaks soar—
One sudden concussive flashing are—
Settle snug as yellow Buddhas unanswerably
Still in winter’s spectral tree

While I sit down again to work.


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