Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Feeder

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Feeder

Article excerpt

(For Megan Tanner 1924-2009)

I

Midwinter, we see through everything:

Bird-nest detritus left high and dry

By the flood of foliage. A cirrus of snow

On the slopes to the frozen creek, whose pulse

Is silenced by ice which, nevertheless,

Falls seaward in scallops. I hear the geese

Before I see them in the oboe sighs

Of your labored breathing, then overhead

See calligraphic letters bursting loose

From alphabets, trying to make sense

In flight and failing. You were "sparrow"

When young. You look back to the war,

Past that to the generation before.

We want you to stay but pray that you go.

II

Morning performance on the stage

Lit by the feeder. One leatherette leg,

Then a game-bird tutu, then two, then three.

Enter wild turkeys, a corps de ballet

All showing their armadillo domes

With ruby, kingfisher, copper sheens.

A squirrel frightens one, who performs

Her solo, pas de chat, jetées

To the music of startle, then led

Off by the torn - each exits singly,

Modest, no curtsey, no curtain call.

You're dying. Exeunt omnes nonchalant.

III

It comes to snow. …

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