California Winter

Late in the California winter birds
land on the green feeder hanging
outside my kitchen window, then split
after seeing I didn’t reload the feed tube.

I look up once from this keyboard,
and there is no bird, only the feeder
swaying against the forest backdrop,
or wait, I ponder for a moment,

as I have been all this past grey
California winter week. Wait a minute.
Is it the feeder swaying, or the forest?
I must understand whether it’s possible

that a finch might visibly shake the
world. Hadn’t some early American poet
before the days of microchips and
Tomahawks, worked this problem out

for us, or could it be that a few lessons
could still be learned by us moderns?
Nature’s little secrets, hiding behind
the flight of a nimble finch, popping out

for me to chew on this afternoon. Perhaps
if I look around me more often I’ll see
that the invisible in each of us wants to show
us something really cool to help us

overcome fears of the stupid weird world
we’ve been forced to have built around us
by others all these years, when all we really
wanted was room for birds to express themselves.

February, 2003

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