Conte, a journal of narrative writing.

Blackbirds: July 2005

For Priscilla, who taught me that
there is much to be learned from birds

Gray stain on the cottage by the pond,
Shoulders with the wear of three score years and eight
Stretch toward the peak;
Joints can be heard to crackle and move about.
My wife fills the bird feeders and
Turns to admire my work,
Her vision dimmed.
I clap my hands to roust a throng of large black birds
Who flap away with a flash
Of red and orange that tells us
They are not grackles after all.
It comes to me that blackbirds cannot help it
If, like the guys from Beirut
Who own the Yankee Diner in town,
They look like someone else:
What we want to see, what we should see,
What we can see
At a point below the horizon.