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birds

Illustration by Sergio Garcia Sanchez

The Moving of the Water [private]

Mrs. Anwen Bevan, retired administrative assistant to a vice president in the Utica Mutual Insurance Co., devoted a portion of each day to strategizing about her yard. It was rectangular, fifty feet wide and eighty feet long, hemmed in by the yards of three neighbors. To the left and right, chain-link fences ran the length of her property. Between these at the far end was a ramshackle low stone wall, remnant of an early era of wall- and fence-making in this neighborhood. Mrs. Bevan did not want her yard to be overrun with trees, flowers, and vegetables, or serve as a haven for birds, insects, bees, or squirrels, as was the case with the Cavallo family on her left.


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Losing

After your father gets lost for the third time,
      you get angry because he won’t answer his phone.
Part of me wants him to stay lost. God, what has stolen my generosity? 

Illustration by Claire Scully

Twinkle, Twinkle, Vogel Staar

Whistle a little Mozart to a starling in a cage. If it knows humans as creatures that sing and are sung to, the bird will shut its beak. It will arch its starling neck, bending toward your puckered lips.

A Field Guide to the Birds of the Upper Yaak

A misty rain, no wind from the west, 
Clouds close as smoke to the ground, 
                                                      spring's fire, like a first love, now gone to ash, 
The lives of angels beginning to end like porch lights turned off 
From time zone to time zone, 
                                          our pictures still crooked on the walls, 
Our prayer, like a Chinese emperor, always two lips away, 
Our pockets gone dry and soft with lint. 
Montana morning, a cold front ready to lay its ears back.