David Wright The 2River View, 5.2 (Winter 2001)

Wild Bird Feeder

Eighteen inches of snow will not keep my neighbor
from her twelve bird feeders—scraping the white dunce
caps off their top—pouring seed into metal pans and concentric
trays and long clear tubes dangled from iron poles—stakes
plunged in the snow, clear to the metal skirts she's dressed
them in to discourage squirrels. I've sometimes heard
her beat on her window like a trapped bird, banging the glass
to scare and curse determined squirrels that climb past her traps
to feast. Today, her blue parka bright against the winter,
she lets these gray tailed scavengers eat in peace—even peppers the snow
with sunflower seeds so her enemies won't need to climb the slick,
black poles or drop boldly from the trees. Yet when they eat
for just a while, grow confident near her feet, she stomps and yells,
scattering them like the seeds she flings in fistfuls as they run.
Trapped behind my glass, I know she is the wildest creature
moving, feeding cardinals, crows, chickadees more than even
nature would in winter, abandoning herself to care, to fury strewn
and sewn across the snow, some eaten, some stolen, and still more
wasted on the breeze.

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