Cowbird

by Nels Hanson

The drab cowbird with gray,
some dull brown on throat
and breast, hops on cement
patio selecting fallen seeds
among black poison nuggets
from the red and yellow four
o’clocks from Peru. It lives
by its own obscurity, unlike
brilliant waxwing, changing
ruby-throated hummingbird
glinting with diamond flecks,
green and silver, or the pushy
scrub jay with bluest pinions,
navy slash on white neck. My
vague bird is not the rainbow,
more shadow of discarded tool
left years in rain, forgotten in
a shed by window facing only
winter light like my doorbell
with spider web. Anonymous,
the small black eyes are large
enough to see how this world
works. Six morsels taste fine,
a mockingbird starts new aria
as cowbird scurries for dusty
hedge its sanctuary, to find or
lose itself again in darkness.

Nels Hanson grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California and has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.

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