Cora Goes Birding
This was a bad idea.
The creepers in this marsh are thick
with secret whispers; they stick
together, resenting intrusions. They
flick their slick fronds, ensnaring
unsure ankles and muddying
the mazy path. She is after
Red-necked grebes and Glaucous gulls,
Least Terns, Warbling Vireos, godwits,
Merlins, Ruffs, or whimbrels, though
in a pinch, a Green-winged Teal or
simple purple finch will have to do.
Or something called a Bufflehead,
or a Common Goldeneye, though
it’s baffling that anything
with golden eyes could be
considered common. She once
saw a girl with golden eyes – or, really,
a strange perplexing amber or
maybe just a trick
of the wayward autumn haze. A fall
here would be risky, the muck quick
to suck at clumsy knees and shins.
She could get stuck here overnight,
shivering among the sedge and stalks
while flustered snowy egrets
menace her from trees. She sees
an osprey loop and glide with
elegant unhurried ease, then balk,
and bank at her proximity,
and gyre toward a distant perch.
Whatever else she’s done today,
she is oddly gratified to say
that she’s been eyeballed by a bird of prey,
and made without a clear demand,
a hawk re-swoop
and change its plans.