Birds love us—they fly to feeder
by species, daily, and in droves.
They visit the deck rail whene’er
we put out fruit, nuts, bread, whatnot.
They do leave behind their droppings
on the deck and patio, yet . . .
mostly on the cars parked beneath
the crepe myrtles leaning over
the drive. So they love our trees, too,
where they roost, breed, and serenade.
We put up with their mess, I guess,
because we have no other choice
if we want to enjoy their charms
while I do penance for the one
I killed as a kid with BB’s
fired from a Daisy air rifle
then tried to revive by blowing
air through its mouth to tiny lungs.
I failed, and from that failure there
evolved a love affair with birds.
I did bury the bird I failed
in a rite, fit for our kinship.
Not that my childhood contrition
made a difference to the dead—
fifty in all, afore I came
to any sense of compassion.