Back to Square One
Phebe Davidson

Astonishment of sky
over tidal marsh.  Squall lines
moving across the land.

Seventeen blackbirds
ride a wire, gabbling the story
of what it was like here

before the people came.
Bird paradise, they say. Insects
everywhere you looked. 

Also the endless trees
half dead with the weight of nests.
They ignore the grackle
who settles besides them,
sheening purple and saying Oh yeah.
The competition was something.

You could hardly
spread your wings without hitting
another bird.  Every time

you turned around, it was another
clutch of nestlings. Someone else's dinner.
Smeone else's loss.     


previously appeared in Back to Square One, New & Selected Poems (Mellen, 2003)

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