Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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During the blizzard, before the wren came,
I was not thinking about islands with bananaquits
and frigatebirds and an occasional taste
of the local rum. Of all those eighty million
Americans under that red zone on
the weather channel, I thought only
of you on Stage Harbor, my Love.

Things began appearing in twos.
Foxes first, after the seeds and suet crumbs
knocked from the feeders by wind,
one light-footing it over the dunes of snow,
a parent perhaps, lush in its color and coat,
and the second maybe a shaggy youngster.

Rumpled twins next, a duet of bluebirds
on the deck rail, the wind still thumping, then
a downy woodpecker on one side
of the hanging suet cake and on the other
the wren, a Carolina by its white supercilium.

Anything else with wings kept the house
between it and that banging wind, but the wren
puffed up on a branch like a tennis ball
that spent last week in a retriever’s mouth.
Then to the suet for more. The wren
like a high-rise window cleaner swinging,
the walkway dangling loose.

Finally the woodpecker escaped through a scrim
of ocean-effect snow. The bluebirds and foxes
already vanished, I promised I would be here
for you alone, Love, persistent as the wren,
who kept coming back, wind be damned, this storm’s
emblem for heart, chipping that suet cake to a slice
thin as morning toast while the night kept coming.  

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