I find the outline of a hundred oiled feathers
like a dust mop, a handprint, the halo
of your visit, as if I wouldn’t have opened
the door. No further evidence, no corpus
or stiff clawed foot, and I’m left to wonder
if you’re stunned or dead, my downy,
if I’m stoned from the sound of television
masking falling seed husks, masking the whirl
of your wings pumping outside my window,
or if I’m dazed by the garage door
clattering its angry metal teeth,
three shades darker than the late winter sky.
Three shades darker than the late winter sky,
house wrens and finches hide their need
while you pound at the empty feeder,
your head in jackhammer motion like some crazy
cartoon bird trying to be fed, the scarlet mark
at the back of your neck as if it’s slashed or snapped.
Slashed or snapped, we wonder. Your reflection
in my window makes you think you’re almost dead,
stunned at the sound of a stray cat’s chattering teeth.
Hungry, stunned or stoned, you’re almost gone,
slashed or snapped, or holding back
and only a window between us.
—Paula Sergi, Fond du Lac, WI