Double Glass Panes
We watch through the kitchen window,
Coffee cups on the counter,
Looking at birds under the trees.
Dad has just come in from filling the seed feeders and
Flinging the crumbled bread.
Little brown birds, brazen black ones,
Married cardinals, and a single jay.
The birds swoop, flutter in, alight,
Careful yet secure as they near
The boundary of bird and human beast.
Once a blackbird carried a big chunk of bread to the birdbath,
Dipped it in water, then hopped sideways, dipped it again,
Three times and a fourth, at the points of the cross
On the circular bath.
“Is he washing the bread?”
“Maybe he’s softening it with water.”
“Quite a large piece of bread; hope he doesn’t drop it.”
“Maybe he’s baptizing the bread.”
In his well-used field guide Dad points out the woodpecker who
Sometimes visits. There he is. (“He,” never “it.”)
Dad welcomes him with peanut butter on a stale slice of bread
Wedged in a branched V where no other beak
but the woodpecker’s can easily get it.
The jay is welcome, the blackbirds too. A single pigeon is
Suffered, but more than one must be shooed away:
Greed, aggression, must be discouraged.
We are old, and our eyes are weak, and we won’t discriminate.
The birds, a pair or a flock, shy or forward, individual.