I am out early
to put the trash
on the curb and to
fill again the feeders
for my voracious neighbor birds
in dark masses like clouds
stuck to the eaves and
entangled in the top branches
of the few trees visible from here.
It takes little time for them
to see what I’ve done;
they come in hot
and start feeding before
I am back inside.
I call the birds my neighbors because
as with the human ones I know
individual birds on sight without
in fact knowing their individual names.
In the city we tend to live like this
until some tragedy hits. We only learn
each others’ names when we gather briefly
with the remaining neighbors to watch as they
are taken away by ambulance.
It’s not the same with the birds, of course;
they tend to depart this life in the mouth of
the cat from across the street, whose name is
Crazy. (I call him Tux.) I never say aw,
there goes Hank Starling, or looks like Tux got
Henrietta Mourning Dove even though generally speaking
I miss them more than I do the people.
I wonder if the birds feel the same. Will they say
damn, Feeder Guy is gone when it’s my turn to be
taken away? Will they miss me, chirp thoughts and prayers?
The question hangs above me, a dark mass in the trees.