Issue 215, Winter 2015
More and more, along the shore
of the Northeast Corridor,
birds are standing in alcoves like telephone booths
as the humans go by—
doorless ceilingless closets in walls of reed
whose floors are the banks, awash in water,
of inlets and bays.
Large wading birds step back into green recesses,
and stand very still,
sometimes more than one in the narrow space,
sometimes a blue heron and a great egret facing each other
beak to beak. Some birds do not stand,
they grip a branch with their feet to stay upright.
Some birds hop, bouncing along
like little pocketless kangaroos,
and a crow walks along with coins singing in her trousers.
But many birds freeze when they see us,
like a horror movie—a scene in a house
where a killer has a special room.
Herons, egrets, ibises, bitterns,
storks, cranes, coots, rails
fall silent, struck motionless at our advent.
Some sidestep, for safekeeping, into extinction.