sound like a rusty pump beneath our window
us at dawn. Drawing the curtains back,
saw—through milky light, above the doghouse—
blue jay lecturing a neighbor's cat
fiercely that, at first, it seemed to wonder
birds forgot the diplomacy of flight
met, instead, each charge with a wild swoop,
cry, and angry thrust of beak.
we found the reason. Near the fence
the flowerless stalks of daffodils,
weak piping of feathers. Too late now to
nest again among the sheltering leaves.
so, harrying the dog, routing the cat,
taking sole possession of the yard,
mother swooped all morning.
I found her there
fluttering round my head, still scattering
troops of blackbirds, head cocked toward my car
if it were some lurid animal,
I returned from work. Still keeping faith.
if what I had found by afternoon
and still and hidden in tall grass
rise again above the fallen world;
if the dead were not past mothering.
Another Kind of Travel, The University of
© 1988. Reprinted by permission of the author.