I wish I was like the superb
lyrebird with the loudest call in the world.
I would sing, “Who has toilet paper,
and can you leave me some?” Really,
it’s as absurd as a waterfall
with no fall. In my opinion we’ve come
undone, but some are soaked in ancestors
who prelect of a perennial pendulum.
What hand do we offer our elders,
our differently abled, our friends
drenched in fear and trauma? “But,”
she asked, “Where’s all your soap?”
Capitalism burns through lenity and hope.
We are not woke.

Tell me friend of your skill
in palm and I will share mine, perhaps
it’s grassy to purify and calm, or
the hullabaloo of teas and tinctures,
a loamy sower or a seed saver
for when all becomes midnight, perhaps
you are a craftsman for a frosty dawn.

Can I send out a great blue heron
call when I’ve arrived at murky waters where,
they say, it’s a free market,
it must not fail,
it’s the engine that keeps us boiling,
but it’s as free as my cat is
to leave the house. Tell me friend,
from Colorado to Lamma island, we
are tracking something new,
but honestly, I’m just tired.

Like a chickadee, have your feathers
been fluffed in protection, but
for generations? Legs and feet
lay bare, uninsulated against the onslaught
of wind and ice-covered words.
I heard that some birds stay and
face the dead of winter against
seemingly insurmountable odds.

At half-weight, wee coniferous birds
survive on heart and kinship
while others jostle for marrow.
Tell me friend,
could we be like the golden-crowned
kinglet collecting in right-size to care
and nourish, leaving no one
in the cold, instead of hoarding what is not
ours when panic becomes orator.

The morning birds’ song drifts
me awake, a new season is coming
they cheep and warble. Sometimes
I worry that winter birds will freeze on cold nights,
they have such small legs and feet,
but they are surprisingly well
adapted. They will not freeze below zero,
they will not fly south for better weather,
migration is not simply north in spring
nor south in winter. It’s passed down
in our bones when, where, and how far
to fly, but we lack the kin of the golden-
crowned kinglet. Tell me friend,
can we greet winter like the dark-eyed junco?
With a chortle.


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