Bird Watching

Upon a light barked limb of birch
a sparrow and a robin perch.
The robin shifts, the sparrow cries,
tilts his head, takes stock, then flies.

From an oak not far away
comes a bluebird and a jay.
The bluebird there to poach a nest,
the jay, simply to taunt and test.

The robin ready to give song,
protests briefly, moves along.
While hidden in the leaves above,
caws a raven, coos a dove.

One for Tracy

No idiot gods or platonic blackbirds
just solid stone and old shoes—
another walk to work.

The sky is the gray
it’ll stay all January,
the cold, slow to arrive.

There are barges on the river
long arms, cranes
to lift stuff up.

Today I tried to count them,
the bridges repaired
the buildings born,

the union men
smoking in circles—
too many for the task.

It all seems so normal
till you look up
and the sun itself

is dwarfed by structure—
mundane creations,
magic works of man.

Fog

In the gray now a man tries to remember
head pressed to a window
he pulls a finger down fog

deer run in the distance
white-tailed departures
through a slit between breathes

before the close, a hint of color
the flight of a finch, or a leaf mid-turn

Keeping Watch

The park that sold this house
is still there outside my window.
Our kids are grown,
but that patch of ground is never empty.
Each year supplies a new face or two
bold enough to approach our joke of a fence
and greet the great beasts that are their silent protectors,
the latest generation to walk the failing pickets and watch.

Skyscraper

A tower stands among a fist of smaller structures,
middle finger to the sky—
Man’s “I am” answer to the world,
set against a lake and manipulated river,
immune to the wind.

What bold madness moves our hands
and drives our actions?
Surely there is no need,
no evolutionary imperative—
This is pride, pure and magnificent,
a child’s name carved in a tree.

Let the earth reject geometry,
let her bear our straight-line scars
and structured insults—
let her send her vines of promised reclamation.
We all know how this ends,
but by God, we are here.

Gone Fishing

Lone spearmen walk the banks,
Sharp-eyed and selective,
they choose their prey:
A meal reserved for few.
The act itself, exclusive.

Others prefer hooks,
taut lines, and sinkers—
bells on their poles.
They wait in lawn chairs
talking weather.
Bottom-feeding
at the sound of a strike.

Ships, less particular,
use nets. No time
for shoreline discrimination,
they sort their catch later,
or not at all
then sell it to the masses
by the pound.

I prefer a bobber,
red and white,
rhythmic.
I can go for days without a bite.