Daily Archives: July 20, 2019

Hard Birds

Think of how hard the birds are
that survive seasons
we shudder to consider.

Every sparrow on the feeder
is a better animal than I
who cannot live long without shelter

out there whether torrent
or blizzard or a scorcher
like today. We think them gentle

and fragile, but today I saw one
peck the head of a squirrel who was
robbing him of suet until 

the gray pirate ran
and did not return. Humans,
think of how we condescend

to animals who neither live
as long nor build as high
as we do, yet there they are

and there they have been and 
when we say there will be none

if we do not change our ways,
I think we lie to ourselves
about our power to kill the earth.

If what is here now dies or drowns,
something will return from death
and retake these niches for their own.

It won’t likely be us,
and that’s why we cry:
not for the tough little birds,

but for our own looming departure
that we call “the end,”
centering mass extinction

on ourselves when after we’re gone,
whatever looks like a sparrow then
will say, in relieved bird voice: Finally.