Heartfelt, brainfelt, bodyfelt, prickfelt,
rushing full tilt toward your personal zero.
—Stephen Dobyns, “Syracuse Nights”
Why would a mid-May robin want in so bad
at my kitchen window she’d implement
her bob-bob-bobbin’ against glass clearly streaked
with her own shit and spit?
I’ve yet to look into this.
And notice I first assume a she
and so imagine a requisite bundle of baby blues
expanding in her little bird body,
making her cockamamie, as does any condition
that’s annually stipulated indifferently.
But I could just as soon assume a scene
about a he, one mad male’s incessant pecking
driving me loony, in which no deterrent works for long
to convince him that surely my world
will not appease the prick
of his anxiety.
So I wander to what you may be way ahead of me
wondering: “What damnable spans of blank illusions
have come to be our clear delusions,
passively smacking us
with our own featherweight attempts to enter
what we should be shunning?”
And I hope you haven’t missed the double entendre
(or my finesse with French), that clear
can be obvious but also clearly
a death: a friend says that hawks—
even hawks!—hammer his massive passive-solar windows,
then overnight the neighbor’s cat skims by,
so by morning the decks are clear again,
except for those few odd tufts
dispensed in ignorance.
But would you say that I’m over-
personifying, that this pecker-headed insistence
must just be some apathetic act of survival
at its fittest? In which case,
would you say that I’ve clearly demonized
an incorruptible effort arising from anything
and whose instinctual persistence will simply discover
the crack, the gap, or the loophole—
or it won’t?
Which leaves our trick as to trust in
what, an inclination? Or trust in
what, our best estimation? Or
Recently retired from nearly 40 years of teaching college writing, literature, and peace studies, D. R. James lives, writes, bird-watches, cycles, and vegges with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. His latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020), and his prose and poems have appeared internationally in a wide variety of print and online anthologies and journals.