Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Some days I’m awakened by a
furious tapping shuddering like tympani
down the chimney sheet.
I race outside, catch a glimpse of orange
as second story thief leaps,
wings catching at the very last.

I have no idea what she was doing on the roof,
finding food, sharpening beak, playing music,
telling me the smell of the air after
hurtling through cedar and hemlock.

Sometimes I’ll catch her lower down, examining alder,
focused like a jeweler.

The flicker is a bird undisturbed by human madness.
She tends the trees with fierce love,
choosing example instead of complaint..

The trees could not ask for a finer ambassador,
her orange robes neatly tucked,
then flourished upon departing.

Many a man from these parts will mutter under
stale breath, “Damn pecker.”

Yet when I spot one, heart resounding,
I know I have spotted a flicker of hope.


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