Collective Unrest

 

On September 22

January 2, 2019

we were discussing cropdusters,
The Plague, logistics, ammonium
sulfite, the word weaponize when
I saw it through my dining room
window—a crested woodpecker

rappelling from trunk to trunk
on an invisible trapeze, claws
sunken noiselessly into thin bark.
We were too awed by alien red,
white and black plumage, military
sleekness, angular perfection

to think to alert the kids or grab
binoculars. From our safe place
behind glass, it seemed enormous.
Two feet from pointed carmine tip
to the longest glossy tailfeather.
Its beak could peck out one’s eyes.

We watched it fly low, only mildly
interested in hunting the insects
trapped inside the skin of native
vine maples. It moved in fluid,
stealthy flourishes between bases,
casing the perimeter, keeping well

under the radar of a resident eagle
nesting in a cedar outpost not far
from here. It advanced, finally,
from one host to the next, vanishing
as soundlessly as when it had emerged.
We look everyday now for its return,

wondering whether the eagle above
has found it yet, whether we will ever
know the outcome of that meeting.
Neighborhood boys report, meanwhile,
that the eyrie is empty. Innocently,
they blame it on the drought.

 

previously published in The Pedestal Magazine, October 2001

Tamara Sellman’s creative work has been published widely and internationally. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Something On Our Minds (Nov 2017), The Nervous Breakdown (Spring 2018), and Halfway Down the Stairs (Sept 2018). Her work has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Sellman works as a board-certified sleep health educator, healthcare journalist, and MS advocate/columnist.

Please follow and like us:
error
Newer Post

On Being Black and Blue

There is this word that I was always told wasn’t for me. “It isn’t something we use.” And when the world behind my eyes was too bright, pitched to the side, not quite enough. Old color, not quite black and…
Read
Older Post

complacency

Is telling the age of silent film to keep tongue-tied at the rise of the talkies. Is expecting a shining staple not to resist the fanged dentition of the remover. Is demanding a rainbow not to mourn the movement of…
Read
Random Post

discourse

As I walk through the city I hear a stream of accents Eddies and pools of language Floating into my ears They want to stem the tide Dam the flood Newspaper headlines cry The nation has spoken Politicos incessantly repeat…
Read
Random Post

Annotated Bibliography

every book I have ever loved has gone unread—or worse yet— abandoned by Chapter Three because       I Just Couldn't Get Into It yet every book a man has ever recommended to me, lent me, or even mentioned…
Read
Random Post

The Polite Monster

The polite monster says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as he buys you a glass of wine and mauls your friend with his eyes. He’s only dangerous to those who don’t know to watch his hands. but you're complicit in his…
Read
Random Post

Why Edward Kennedy was forgiven for the time he drove his oldsmobile into a pond

(after Richard Krech)   The poppies that they gather only grow in blood soaked soil under dark mountain ranges. Every thing crumbles under the weight of these white washed walls and burned history books. No one remembers the call girl’s…
Read