Birds In Winter


I only want to watch the birds
as they flock to the feeders:
finches, sparrows, chickadees…
dropping down like strange leaves,
stealing themselves against the chill,
keeping warm with puffed feathers,
shaking the snow from their backs,
defiant with the challenge of survival.

They seem impervious to tragedy
but they must know loss.
They must.

I see it in the way the mourning doves cluster,
beneath the hoppers, cooing, wary
I scattered the seed for them
so I can watch their round bodies
melt the surface of my frozen yard.